The Malaysian community on the United States east coast was “feverishly excited” in the run-up to the much-anticipated Merdeka Soccer Tournament which was played out for two days on Saturday and Sunday in New York.
The main attraction of this year’s Merdeka Cup – the weekend’s tournament was organised for the seventh successive year – was the presence of a large contingent of 20 players especially flown in to New York from Malaysia. Some of the players had even brought their wives along with them, as one player said, “to provide them support and cheer them on the field”.
Katherina To, a Malaysian community volunteer who resides in Elmhurst, New York, and is actively involved in organising a number of Malaysian events, explained that the soccer tournament called Merdeka Cup USA, held in New York since 2008, was the local edition of the Merdeka Cup held in Malaysia to celebrate the nation’s independence.
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