It may have been just a youth tournament but one that opened a whole lot of opportunities for Datuk Yap Nyim Keong.
The former footballer remembers playing in the 1970 Burnley Cup like it was yesterday. Yap skippered Selangor as the team edged Perak 1-0 in the final at the Station Padang in Seremban in 1970.
“It was the greatest feeling. My teammates, including Baldev Singh, carried me as I lifted the Burnley Cup trophy,” said Yap.
“It was a good tournament. Many good players competed and went on to represent Malaysia.”
Fast forward to today, Yap said he is sad and frustrated that the trophy is missing. Yesterday, Twentytwo13 wrote that the Museums Department confirmed it does not have the trophy while the FA of Malaysia (FAM) is still clueless about its whereabouts.
“It’s sad. Many records were lost when FAM moved its office from Birch Road (Jalan Maharajalela) to its present location at Wisma FAM (in Kelana Jaya).
“Those days everything was recorded in books, so things went missing.
“It’s frustrating … the picture of me holding the Burnley Cup is the only image I have of winning a trophy. I won other trophies after that but I never took a picture. This Burnley Cup picture (main image) with Baldev by my side and (former international) Lim Fung Kee among others… I treasure the most.”
Yap said winning the Burnley Cup made a huge impact on his life.
“It was after winning the trophy that this ordinary kampung boy was selected for the national Under-20 team,” said Yap.
Winning the Under-19 tournament even earned him a scholarship from the Selangor government as he went on to get his Bachelor of Arts degree.
Yap, a former FAM assistant secretary and Fifa technical consultant specialising in development and women’s football, said a trophy would generally be in the possession of the winning team before it was returned to the organisers for the following editions.
“Hopefully, someone will be able to shed some light,” added Yap, the general secretary of Mini Football Malaysia.
Twentytwo13 first wrote about the missing Burnley Cup on March 19.
It was later reported that the last Burnley Cup final was held in 1972. Terengganu and Penang were joint winners after a 2-2 draw at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.
The Burnley Cup is believed to have been brought to the country by former Malaya coach Choo Seng Quee in 1961 following his brief stint in England. The tournament was held six times between 1962 and 1972.
It was later changed to the Razak Cup and is today known as President’s Cup.
Sadly, there is no official information about the Burnley Cup trophy or the tournament.