Malaysian Football League (MFL) is uniting football fans on the virtual front with the launch of the inaugural ePiala Malaysia 2019. The exclusive partnership with Gamesbond, who is also the official organiser of the esports tournament, is part of MFL’s effort to support esports – a popular sports platform amongst Malaysian youths – and to generate stronger interest towards traditional football.
As part of the ePiala Malaysia 2019 launch, the eight selected competitors – who are the top Malaysian esports players on the FIFA Global Leaderboard and have also represented the nation in international esports tournaments, were drawn to represent the eight quarter-finalist teams in Piala Malaysia 2019, namely Johor Darul Ta'zim, Kedah, Melaka, Pahang, Perak, PKNP FC, Selangor and Terengganu FC.
The ePiala Malaysia 2019 – played on the latest FIFA20 game using the PlayStation 4 platform, will be held beginning on 26 September 2019 for the quarter-final stage, followed by the semi-final stage on 17 October 2019 and the final on 2 November 2019. The esports athletes will play using a home-away format (5 minutes per half) for the quarter-final and semi-final rounds, while the final round will be played with one 6-minute half match. The final of the ePiala Malaysia 2019 match will be played right before the real-life match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Each player in ePiala Malaysia 2019 will retain their drawn team across the duration of the e-tournament, with the first ever ePiala Malaysia 2019 champion winning a RM5,000 prize money and trophy. The winner will also get a chance to lift the ePiala Malaysia trophy at the Final of Piala Malaysia 2019.
“Looking at the popularity of esports in Southeast Asia, with more than 9.5 million enthusiasts, we are looking to esports as a platform to promote solidarity through football. We also want the new generation to be interested in traditional football. Thus, we are coming forward to embrace and support Malaysian esports players,” said Kevin Ramalingam, Chief Executive Officer of MFL.
Kevin added, “One of our pillars in the Next50 strategic blueprint is the fans. At MFL, we want to put fans and the entire Malaysian community at the forefront of Malaysian professional football. Esports is also a way to open up new revenue streams for the clubs via collaborations with sponsors to reach out to different audiences – on ground and in the virtual sphere.”
The eight esports competitors taking part in the inaugural ePiala Malaysia 2019 are: Muhammad Luqman Haziq Bin Hajiman (22 years old), Nur Amirul Bin Afandi (25), Muhammad Syahril Mispardi (33), Kathireswaran Sugumaran (25), Mirza Mohammad Nabil Beg Bin Mirza Mohammad Taiyab Beg (22), Iskandar Mirza Bin Mohd Mustafa (21), Ahmad Shahrin Bin Shaharudin (19) and Putera Sufrie Nizam Bin Subardron (18).
“As Malaysia has one of the biggest esports football fan bases in the region and the community shows strong support for esports-related events that are held, we hope to continue to drive interest through this event,” said Muhammad Fazli Razak, Managing Director of Gamesbond.
Before the start of each round, the e-tournament marshal will conduct a live draw to determine which FIFA league is used for the quarter-final, semi-final and final rounds. The options of FIFA league include the English Premier League, Bundesliga, France Ligue 1, Serie A, and LaLiga. The esports competitor will be required to select players from the league chosen. The home player will alternate with the away player in choosing players for their team.
The live ePiala Malaysia 2019 matches, which will feature top esports football commentators Hafiz ‘Desaifer’ Sudin and Matthews ‘Matt’ Izzac, will be streamed via the MFL Facebook page and the Football Malaysia channel on iflix.
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