Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The inaugural Intercontinental Cup last year featured Samson Siasia's Nigerian Olympic squad that eventually lifted the Cup. The second edition was supposed to take place next month in Terengganu, with the State Government having pledged its support and sponsorship. Then it was revealed the poor standard of the identified training pitches did not meet FIFA requirements while match officials and teams would be billeted at the same hotel, again against FIFA regulations.

So it was decided Kuala Lumpur would be a better venue to host a competition that would gauge K. Rajagobal's Under-23 squad. Now FA of Malaysia had conveniently cancelled the tournament because of the swine flu, now rebranded as Influenza A, threat, much to the dismay of tournament promoter, Octagon. This might mean Rajagobal fielding the Under-23 side, augmented by a few seniors, to take on UEFA Champions League finalists (let's hope they remain as finalists) Manchester United in July.

THE Influenza A virus outbreak has claimed the Intercontinental Cup Under-23 football tournament scheduled for June 1-14 in Kuala Lumpur as a new victim.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) was forced to cancel the eight-team tournament after consulting the Health Ministry.

"The cancellation of the Intercontinental Cup is due to the threat posed by the influenza virus outbreak which has affected several countries.

"FAM referred the matter to the Health Ministry, and after close consultation with various parties, a conclusion to cancel the tournament was reached as the well-being of those involved comes first," FAM said in a statement yesterday.

The tournament, which was to feature Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and South Korea among others, was crucial for national coach K. Rajagobal's preparation for the Laos Sea Games in December.
Rajagobal had hoped to put the national Under-23 squad to the test against quality opposition as part of his preparation for the Sea Games, where Malaysia have not won the gold medal for 20 years. - New Straits Times

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