The fourth edition of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship was launched on Monday and promises to thrill football fans in the region once again.
The regional press conference of TMCC 2017, which marks the official launch of the tournament, was held amidst a backdrop of glitz and glamour at the Conrad Bangkok Hotel in Thailand.
This year’s edition will take place from December 9 to January 6, 2018 and will pit the champions of the Thai League Cup, Vietnam’s V.League 1, Cambodian League and Lao Premier League against one another.
With many of Southeast Asia’s leagues in its final stages right now, only Lao Toyota have thus far been confirmed as the representatives from Laos.
Apart from a new, glistening 24-karat gold trophy up for grabs, a total prize money of US$173,000 will also be on offer for the competitors, including $75,000 for the winners and even a $3,000 individual prize for the Most Valuable Player.
The inaugural champions hailed from Vietnam in the form of Becamex Binh Duong, before Thai giants Buriram United emerged triumphant in the past two years.
However, with Buriram having been eliminated from the Thai League Cup, and Muangthong United and Chiangrai United set to meet in the final, fans can look forward to the promise of new champions being crowned come January 6.
Despite its short history, the TMCC has already established itself as a platform for the region’s top teams and players to test themselves against one another and showcase their abilities.
Cambodia international Chan Vathanaka, the 2015 Most Valuable Player, has since earned himself a move to Japan’s Fujieda MYFC, while Brazilian striker Diogo – who opened the scoring in last year’s final – played a key role this season in helping Buriram claim a seventh Thai League 1 crown with 24 goals.
“Toyota has been supporting sports around the world to encourage the communities to follow their hearts, to develop their passions and aspirations,” said Mr. Hao Quoc Tien, Executive Vice President, Toyota Motor Asia Pacific.
“We believe that pursuing sports will lead us to better ourselves within the communities.
“As a contribution to the communities, we launched the Toyota Mekong Football Project in 2014. This consists of a club championship and football clinics for the youth.
“Football is the sport we chose as it is the most popular sport in this region. It is also a unifying sport that has broad appeal and cuts across all boundaries.
We also hope that through this project, the Toyota brand will be loved by a wider range of audience in Mekong countries, from children to adults, both male and female.”