Organisers have promised that the Mekong Club Championship, a club competition featuring the champions of the countries that lie on Mekong river, will be more exciting and competitive this year after changes have been made for its second edition.
The changes to the competition, which is sponsored by Toyota Asia Pacific, were announced at a press conference in Bangkok on Tuesday.
This year’s tournament is scheduled to kick off on November 1 and finish on December 20, and Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar will all send the champions of their elite leagues to play in the event, which will now feature home and away ties.
“This year, the competition will be held in all five countries on the Mekong, which will make it more exciting for the home fans,” Toyota Asia Pacific chairman Kyoichi Tanada told the press conference.
The champions of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will square off in the first group stage, where the eventual winners of the ongoing Metfone Cambodian League will travel to play the Lao champions at Vientiane’s Chao Anouvong Stadium on November 1.
The Laotians will then visit Myanmar, where they will meet their club champions at Yangon’s Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium on November 22.
The Cambodian champions welcome those from Myanmar at the Olympic Stadium on November 29.
The side that emerges from the first group stage go on to play the Vietnam ese champions in the semifinal at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on December 6, with the winners facing the Thai champions in the final at Bangkok’s Supachalasai Stadium on December 20 to decide which club takes home the $75,000 money prize.
The runner-up will arrive home with $50,000, with third place netting $30,000. The fourth and fifth placed clubs win $10,000 and $5,000.
Becamex Binh Duong FC of Vietnam won the inaugural event last year after they beat Myanmar’s Ayeyawady United FC 4-1 in the final, while Cambodian champions Phnom Penh Crown secured third place with a 2-0 victory over Laos’ Hoang Anh Attapeu FC at the end of the four-team event.
Additional reporting and Translation by IN SOPHENG