Bukit Jalil Stadium to mark football opening with three-nation Super Cup
Kuala Lumpur's renovated Bukit Jalil National Stadium reopens to football fans next month with a three-team Super Cup tournament featuring clubs from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Work started last year, but was temporarily halted as the stadium reopened for August's Southeast Asia (SEA) Games before further renovations were carried out.
The upgrade has come in time for the venue's 20th anniversary, having been constructed for the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
The stadium forms part of KL Sports City, a complex that Malaysia hopes can rival neighbouring Singapore's impressive Sports Hub.
Malaysia Super League (MSL) side Kelantan FA are the local hosts, while it will be an opportunity for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) to size up likely AFC Cup opponents Persija Jakarta, who play in Indonesia's Liga 1.
Thai League club Ratchaburi are the other team in what promises to be a special occasion at the largest stadium in Southeast Asia.
The round-robin tournament kicks off with a match between Persija and Ratchaburi on Jan. 13, before Kelantan play the Indonesians on Jan. 16. The final match between Kelantan and Ratchaburi takes place on Jan. 20.
For Kelantan, it is a good opportunity to fine-tune things before the start of the 2018 MSL season after a disappointing year that saw them narrowly avoid relegation.
They have been active in the transfer market and recently added South Korean midfielder Do Dong-Hyun and Brazilian defender Cassio de Jesus to their squad, while securing the services of Senegalese midfielder Morgaro Gomis for another year.
Persija are led by Stefano 'Teco' Cugurra, who spent six years in Thailand before the move to Indonesia, most memorably leading Chiang Rai United to the top tier in 2010.
Ratchaburi, who finished sixth in T1 this year, should feature attacking midfielders Nattawut Sombatyotha and Montree Promsawat, who both played a part in Thailand's SEA Games gold-medal winning squad in Kuala Lumpur in August.
While the stadium opens with a relatively low-key competition, Harimau Malaya fans will be hoping that newly-appointed national team manager Tan Cheng Hoe can bring pride back to the team and create some memorable nights in the years to come at the venue.
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