|Number of teams||Varied|
|Current champions||Malaysia U-23 (2nd titles)|
|Most successful team(s)||Malaysia (10 titles)|
Pestabola Merdeka or Merdeka Tournament is a friendly football tournament held in Malaysia to commemorate the Independence Day. The competition bears the Malay word for independence. As at 2021 it has been held 40 times, and decreasingly in recent decades.
Its final has been mainly held at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. An unusual feature is it has four times seen a draw result, twice with the home nation and teams from South Korea, and twice with the latter and variously Taiwan and Myanmar (then predominantly called Burma).
Teams from all continents apart from North America have been the runners up or champions.
The Pestabola Merdeka is Asia`s oldest football tournament which invited football playing nations to compete since 1957.While the tournament had been held annually from 1957 to 1988, it has been held only nine times from 1989 to 2013. During the late 1950s to early 1980s, it was a prestigious tournament among Asian nations because the participants sent their full senior players. After the 1980s, interest in the cup waned from both football fans and football teams, because many Asian nations focused more on the qualification phases in FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup.
The first edition of the Pestabola Merdeka was held in August and September 1957 with Hong Kong emerging inaugural champions.However, from then on it was purely dominated by Malaysia, South Korea, Myanmar, Indonesia and a host of other countries, including South American and European clubs.
Malaysia/Malaya exclusively lifted the trophy ten times, emerged runners-up on eight occasions, and in addition shared the winner’s rostrum twice with South Korea (1960 and 1979), while South Korean sides have won it seven times.
Indonesia, Taiwan and Myanmar hold multi-winning accolades. The other champions were Morocco (1980), New Zealand (2000), Uzbekistan (2001), Czechoslovakia Olympic football team (1987) and Austria’s with their SK Admira Wacker (1991), German Hamburger SV (1988), Argentinian Buenos Aires XI (1983) and Brazilian Santa Catarina XI (1982).
Brazilian states' Sao Paulo XI, Minas Gerais XI, and America FC Rio de Janeiro finished runners-up, as have Japan and India.
Below are the list of champions in Pestabola Merdeka competitions since 1957.
|Year||Champions||Runners-up||Score in final||Notes|
|1957||Hong Kong League XI||Indonesia||(tournament in group stages)1|
|1958||Malaya||Hong Kong League XI|
|1960|| Malaya |
|1963||Taiwan||Japan||(tournament in group stages)1|
|1965|| South Korea |
|1967|| Yangzee |
|1979|| South Korea B |
|1981||Iraq||Sao Paulo XI||1–0|
|1982||Santa Catarina XI||Ghana||3–0|
|1983||Buenos Aires XI||Algeria XI||2–1|
|1984||South Korea B||Minas Gerais XI||2–0|
|1985||South Korea B||America FC Rio de Janeiro||7–4 (a.e.t)|
|1987||Czechoslovakia Olympic||South Korea||3–2|
|1988||Hamburger SV (West Germany)||FC Tirol Innsbruck||1–0|
|1991||SK Admira Wacker||China Olympic Team||3–0|
|1993||Malaysia||South Korea B||3–1||2|
|1995||Iraq||Budapesti Vasas SC||2–0|
|2001||Uzbekistan||Bosnia and Herzegovina||2–1|
|2008||Vietnam U-22||Malaysia||0–0||(Penalties) 6–5|
|2013||Malaysia U-23||Myanmar U-23||2–0|
Note: 1 All teams participant fielded their strongest side and their match are regarded as full internationals for their association. 2 South Korea was represented by a reserve team with some senior players.
Below are the record of teams in Pestabola Merdeka competitions (1957–present).
|1||Malaysia (including Malaya)||10||7||2||17|
|6||South Korea B||3||1||1||4|
|7||Vietnam (including South Vietnam )||2||-||-||2|
|11||SK Admira Wacker||1||-||-||1|
|11||Buenos Aires XI||1||-||-||1|
|11||Hong Kong League XI||1||-||-||1|
|11||Santa Catarina XI||1||-||-||1|
|13||Sao Paulo XI||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||Minas Gerais XI||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||América FC Rio de Janeiro||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||FC Tirol Innsbruck||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||China Olympic Team||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||Budapesti Vasas SC||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||Bosnia and Herzegovina||-||1||-||(1)|
|3||Cha Bum-Kun||South Korea||21|
Here are some prominent footballers that have participated in this competition.
The Hong Kong national football team represents Hong Kong in international football and is controlled by the Hong Kong Football Association, the governing body for football in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was the first in Asia to hold the AFC Asian Cup in 1956 and won third place, and was also semi-finalist in 1964. Hong Kong has not qualified for another AFC tournament since 1968. Hong Kong had never qualified for the FIFA World Cup and its biggest celebrated victory was the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) where Hong Kong produced a 2–1 upset win against China which resulted in Hong Kong qualifying for the second rounds of qualification. Hong Kong has qualified for the EAFF E-1 Football Championship five times in 1995, 1998, 2003, 2010 and 2019.
The Malaysia national football team represents Malaysia in international football and is controlled by the Football Association of Malaysia. The national team is recognised by FIFA as the successor of the defunct Malaya national football team which was founded for the 1963 Merdeka Tournament one month before the institution of Malaysia. The team is officially nicknamed Harimau Malaya in reference to the Malayan tiger.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is the national governing body of football in Malaysia responsible for organising the Malaysia national football team within the country. The Football Association of Malaysia headquarters is located at Wisma FAM.
Stadium Merdeka is a stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It has significance as the site of the formal declaration of independence of the Federation of Malaya on 31 August 1957 and the first modern building of the new nation. The stadium is also the site of the proclamation of Malaysia in 16 September 1963.
Dato' Mohd. Mokhtar Dahari was a Malaysian football player from Setapak, Selangor, he played for F.A. Selangor for most of his life. He is considered a legendary footballer in Malaysian football history, especially with F.A. Selangor. A prolific forward, he was nicknamed Supermokh due to his playing skills and strength.
Dato' Soh Chin Ann or Soh Chin Aun because of a misspelling by Malaysian media is a former Malaysian footballer from Malacca. He was affectionately known as Tauke or Towkay by his teammates and fans. According to both RSSSF and IFFHS, Soh is the player with the most international caps in men's football.
Chow Chee Keong was a Malaysian football goalkeeper who played in Hong Kong.
Hassan SaniPGDK is a former Malaysian football player. He played for Sabah FA in the semi-pro league and Malaysia Cup in the late 1970s and in the 1980s.
Lee Hoe-taik is a former South Korean football player and manager. Lee was nicknamed "Leopard" in South Korea because of his innate stamina, rapid pace and powerful shots. He was also proficient in creating chances and gave many key passes to other forwards in the middle. He scored 21 goals with 81 caps in the national team and won eight Asian titles, including the 1970 Asian Games. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest forwards in South Korean football. He is also one of four players, inducted into the Korean Football Hall of Fame.
Mohd Safee bin Mohd Sali is a Malaysian footballer who plays for Malaysia Super League club Kuala Lumpur City and the Malaysia national team. He plays as a forward.
Zainal Abidin Hassan bin Ali is a Malaysian former footballer and current head coach of Malaysian team Melaka United.
This is a list of international games played by the Indonesia national football team since 1921:
Abdul Ghani bin Minhat was a football player who represented the team Selangor FA and Negeri Sembilan FA in the 1950s until the late 1960s. He played as a striker and winger while representing Malaya and Malaysia. He was sent by FAM to undergo a training session at Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany and other countries. He was known as the Raja Bola and is considered one of Malaysia's greatest football players.
The Singapore national under-23 football team is the national under-23 association football team of Singapore. The team comes under the organisation of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
The Myanmar national under-23 football team is the under-23 football team that represents Myanmar at the international football competitions. It is controlled by the Myanmar Football Federation.
Junior Gunnar Putera Eldstål is a Malaysian professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Thai League 1 club Chonburi and the Malaysia national team.
Choo Seng Quee, Joseph,, popularly known as Uncle Choo, was a Singaporean footballer and football coach. He was coach of the Indonesia, Malaya/Malaysia and Singapore national teams. He is widely recognised as one of Singapore's best football coaches.
Football is the most popular sport in Malaysia. Association football is a national sport in Malaysia, where the first modern set of rules for the code were established in 1921, which were a major influence on the development of the modern Laws of the Game. The sport of football in the country of Malaysia is run by the Football Association of Malaysia.
Ho Ying Fun was a former professional footballer and football manager. Born in Hong Kong, he represented Republic of China in 1948 Olympics and Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1954, 1958 Asian Games, as well as 1956 and 1960 AFC Asian Cup. Ho also represented Hong Kong League XI in Merdeka Tournament, a friendly tournament in 1957.
Results of India national football team from 1970–1979.