The weather has not been a friend of Mongolian national squads this year. With memorable matches in torrential rain in Thailand in July and snow storms in Ulaanbaatar in November, today's cancellation in Indonesia is one in a line of many that have been influenced by the weather over the past six months.
Although Mongolia and head coach Michael Weiß were prepared to play today's match against Brunei, tournament organizers and the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam decided to cancel the fixture.
The main reason for the cancellation was field conditions, with torrential rains pounding the town of Banda Aceh for most of the duration of the tournament. Additionally, both teams were eliminated from contention for the championship on the second matchday, making the fixture fairly meaningless.
It may have been fairly meaningless, but not completely. There were several reasons to play the tournament's final match. Firstly, Mongolian player Mönkh-Erdengiin Tögöldör was only one goal behind tournament Golden Boot winner Anton Zemlianukhin of Kyrgyzstan. With Mongolia set to face their easiest opponents of the competition, Tögöldör stood a real chance to win the award and take home the $2,500 prize.
Secondly, it is no surprise that Mongolia wanted to play the final match as playing more competitive fixtures is a central component of the association's plan to raise the nation's level of competitiveness. As an association with limited funding, playing three matches rather than two better justifies the expense of the trip to Indonesia.
Finally, competitive integrity. If a match has been scheduled, play it. For the players who have given their full effort and for the fans who have given their support and (more tangibly) their money to attend.
Officially, Mongolia finishes the tournament in third place out of four teams with zero points, edging out Brunei on goal differentials of -4 to -8.
The day's earlier match to decide the champion between Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan ended in a 0-1 defeat for the hosts with the central Asian nation taking top honors. The only goal of the match was scored by Kyrgyzstan's Saliev Askarbek in the 20th minute.