- Justin Grimm
Mongolia to Participate in 2017 Tsunami Cup
Update: It has been revealed that each nation would be fielding its under-23 team following Olympic football regulations.
It has been revealed that the Mongolia senior national team will compete in the 2017 Aceh World Solidarity Tsunami Cup from December 2-6, 2017. Also competing in the FIFA-recognized tournament are Brunei, Indonesia, and Kyrgyzstan.
All matches will take place in a round-robin format over three matchdays at the 45,000-seat Harapan Bangsa Stadium in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
The tournament is intended to show solidarity for Aceh which was devastated by the 2004 tsunami which rocked the region and return major events to the city. Originally many associations were invited, particularly those from other nations affected by the disaster. As recently as mid-November it was believed that Turkey and Australia would also compete but they are not part of the final lineup. Some officials have stated that they would like the tournament to be held annually.
A total of $85,000 USD will be given as prize money with the winning team receiving $50,000. The runners-up will receive $25,000 and additional prize money will be given to the fair play winners, best player, and top scorer.
Mongolia will open the tournament against Kyrgyzstan on 2 December before taking on the hosts on 4 December and closing out the tournament against Brunei on 6 December.
Mongolia has never faced any of its three upcoming opponents in senior football before. Mongolia and Brunei both competed in the 2016 AFC Solidarity Cup together but were in opposite groups.
Mongolia is currently ranked 199th in the FIFA World Rankings. Brunei is 190th, Indonesia is 154th, and Kyrgyzstan is ranked 115th.
Brunei's players, like Mongolia's, mostly play in their domestic league. One exception is Faiq Bolkiah, nephew of Brunei's current sultan and academy member of English Premier League club Leicester City F.C. He has previously played for the academies of other big English clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, and Southampton. Most of the Indonesian players also play in the domestic Liga 1 but there are a few that play in the top division of the country's neighbor Malaysia. The Kyrgyzstan squad represents the most diverse array of clubs, with players representing clubs in Serbia, Uzbekistan, Belarus, the Netherlands, and Germany in addition to the Kyrgyzstan's Top League.
Participating in this tournament is another part of the Mongolian Football Federation's plan to improve the team's level of play by competing in more international fixtures. In October of this year, the team played Chinese Taipei to a 2-4 defeat in its first official friendly in seventeen years.
In preparation for the tournament, the team took on the under-23 team of Myanmar this morning, playing to a 1-2 defeat. Mongolia will also face Myanmar's under-21 team before the tournament.
To learn more about the tournament, visit: https://awsc2017.id/