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|Number of teams||Varied|
|Current champions||Malaysia (2nd titles)|
|Most successful team(s)||Malaysia (10 titles)|
The Pestabola Merdeka is Asia`s oldest football tournament which invited football playing nations to compete since 1957. While the tournament had been held annually from 1957 to 1988, it has been held only nine times from 1989 to 2013. During the late 1950s to early 1980s,it was a prestigious tournament among Asian nations because the participants sent their full senior players. After the 1980s, it lost interest because many Asian nations focused more on the qualification phases in FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup.
The first edition of the Pestabola Merdeka was held in August and September 1957 with Hong Kong emerging inaugural champions. However, from then on it was purely dominated by Malaysia, South Korea, Myanmar, Indonesia and a host of other countries, including South American and European clubs.
Malaysia lifted the trophy nine times since 1958, emerged runners-up on eight occasions, and shared the winner’s rostrum twice with South Korea (1960 and 1979), while the Koreans won it seven times. Indonesia, Taiwan and Myanmar also had their fair share of the accolades. The other champions were Morocco (1980), New Zealand (2000), Uzbekistan (2001), Czechoslovakia Olympic football team (1987) and also Austria’s with their represented SK Admira Wacker (1991), German club-Hamburger SV (1988), Argentina states-Buenos Aires XI (1983) and Brazil states-Santa Catarina XI (1982). While Brazilian states – Sao Paulo XI, Minas Gerais XI, and America FC Rio de Janeiro finished runners-up together with Japan and India in the 56 years history of the tournament.
Below are the list of champions in Pestabola Merdeka competitions since 1957.
Note: 1 All teams participant fielded their strongest side and their match are regarded as full internationals for their association. 2 South Korea was represented by a reserve team with some senior players.
Below are the record of teams in Pestabola Merdeka competitions (1957–present).
|1||Malaysia (including Malaya)||8||8||2||10|
|6||Korea Republic U-23||2||2||-||2|
|7||Vietnam (including South Vietnam)||2||-||-||2|
|11||SK Admira Wacker||1||-||-||1|
|11||Buenos Aires XI||1||-||-||1|
|11||Santa Catarina XI||1||-||-||1|
|13||Sao Paulo XI||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||Minas Gerais XI||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||América FC Rio de Janeiro||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||FC Tirol Innsbruck||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||China Olympic Team||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||Budapesti Vasas SC||-||1||-||(1)|
|13||Bosnia and Herzegovina||-||1||-||(1)|