The Merlion Cup will return for the ninth edition later this month after a three-year hiatus.
The last time the tournament was held in Singapore was in 2019, with Singapore lifting the trophy through an Ikhsan Fandi goal.
This time around, the tournament will serve as a warm-up to the Southeast Asian Games to be held in May.
The Merlion Cup will be held from 24 to 26 March 2023, and the tournament will feature the National Under-22 teams of Cambodia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and host Singapore.
Apart from Singapore and Malaysia, the two other teams will be participating in the Merlion Cup for the first time.
The tournament will consist of two stages, with all four teams competing in the opening round on Friday, 24 March 2023.
The losing teams from the first stage will compete in a 3rd and 4th placing match two days later, as the curtain raiser prior to the final. All four matches will be played at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The official tournament draw to determine the fixtures will take place on 6 March.
Singapore’s newly-appointed U22 coach Philippe Aw, who said, “The players will need to display that they have the hunger, the desire and the ability to step up when called upon, should the opportunity arise.
“In order to help them achieve this, the task falls on my backroom staff and I to help the players prepare extensively so that they will be able to display our game model and have a clear identity when they step onto the pitch.”
First introduced in 1982, the invitational tournament was an annual affair until 1986 and saw participation from teams hailing from 18 countries including Australia, Iraq, China and Chile in past editions.
The sixth edition was held in 1992, which was won by South Korea; the last iteration was a one-off tie against Liverpool in 2009.
As of the 2019 edition, the Merlion Cup has since become an age-group tournament, specifically for the Under-22 National Teams.
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