Around a month ago, the Malaysian Football League (MFL) announced that they will be partnering with Gamesbond to organise an esports football tournament in conjunction with the Malaysia Cup (Piala Malaysia) annual football tournament which is the nation’s oldest football tournament.

The tournament is officially called e-Piala Malaysia and will be happening side-by-side with the Piala Malaysia. This move is motivated by MFL’s primary goal of merging the experience of enjoying esports and traditional sports. As part of this goal, the 8 esports athletes chosen to compete in e-Piala Malaysia will be representing the football teams that made it into the Piala Malaysia quarter finals.

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Speaking at the e-Piala Malaysia press conference, MFL CEO Kevin Ramalingam ended his speech with an appeal towards Electronic Arts. He hopes that the efforts shown by the MFL will encourage them to include teams in the Malaysian League in the next FIFA game.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to Electronic Arts to ensure that the Malaysian League is available in FIFA 21. We’re taking steps in the right direction, please support us as well.”

– Kevin Ramalingam, Malaysian Football League CEO.

The football game chosen for the tournament is FIFA 20 and the matches will all be played on PS4. All 8 participants have been chosen based on their FIFA Global Rankings and their esports achievements. There’s no doubt that it’ll great to watch with skilled players like Gamesbond’s very own Luqman “Fenrir” Haziq and FrostFire’s Kathires “InFamous9” Sugumaran.

List of esports athletes and their assigned team:

  • Syahril “Syahril” Mispardi – Pahang
  • Luqman “LuqmanHZQ” Haziq – Terengganu
  • Amirul “AmTuah” Afandi – Perak
  • Mirza “Bale” Nabil – Melaka
  • Ahmad “Ayen” Shahrin – Kedah
  • Iskandar “Ismirza” Mirza – Selangor
  • Kathires “InFamous9” Sugumaran – PKNP FC
  • Putera Sufrie “Killer” Nizam Subadron – Johor Darul Takzim

The esports athletes have been assigned their respective football teams through random draw. E-Piala Malaysia’s first four matches will mirror the quarter finals of Piala Malaysia, so as Kedah goes against PKNP tomorrow night at 9PM, their esports reps will be playing at 8PM.

You can watch livestreams of the e-Piala Malaysia matches on the MFL Facebook page and on iFlix.

Despite the scale and prestige of this tournament, I was quite disappointed to find out that the prize pool only amounted to RM10,000. Answering a question from the press, Kevin clarified that he believes the players are here for something more important than money: prestige and recognition.

I’ll agree to disagree with that statement.

Images used in this article was taken from the MFL official Facebook page.

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