Football At Southeast Asian Games – A Historical Account

Posted on by Sreya

The 28th Southeast Asian Games get underway at Singapore on 5th June, 2015 although the preliminary games begin later this month. Football has been a constant feature at all the SEA Games till date, after making its debut in the 1st Southeast Asian Games at Bangkok in 1959.

South Vietnam won the inaugural event in 1959 when only four countries sent teams for this particular sport. South Vietnam and Thailand had topped the group, which also included Malaya and Burma. The Burmese did not open their points account. Although the finalists and Malaya were tied on four points, South Vietnam and Thailand boasted of better goal difference. South Vietnam won the final 3-1.

Since the first edition of the SEA games 56 years ago, men’s football has grown in stature as a sporting event. In the previous SEA Games in 2013, hosted by Myanmar, matches were played in three different cities – Yangon, Naypidaw and Mandalay with ten teams divided in two preliminary groups.

Malaysia and Singapore qualified for the knock-out stages from Group A, which also included Vietnam, Laos and Brunei. Thailand and Indonesia qualified from Group B, in which the other teams were Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Cambodia.

Indonesia defeated Malaysia on penalties to clinch a spot in the finals, after the game ended at 1-1 after extra time. Thailand beat Singapore 1-0 in the other semi-finals. Thailand won the Gold Medal match, courtesy a first-half goal from Sarawut Masuk while Singapore won the bronze, defeating Malaysia 2-1 in their third-place match.

Such has been the dominance of Thailand at the SEA Games, that the Changsuk has won the gold medal a record 14 times over the years. The 2015 edition promises to be an engaging affair with teams from 11 nations set to participate in the tournament.

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