Where is the Burnley Cup?

Efforts are under way to locate the “missing” Burnley Cup as football administrators in Malaysia admit they have not seen the youth trophy which was last won by Sarawak in 1972.

In fact, the whereabouts of another trophy – the Sheffield Cup – also remains a mystery.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) is reaching out to those who could shed some light on the missing Burnley Cup.

FAM deputy general secretary Abang Zulkarnain Abang Abdurahman, who is also a long-time Sarawak FA administrator, explained that Sarawak FA was only formed in 1974 and that there was no proper handover from the previous crew who handled the state association and the 1974 team.

“When Datuk Taha Ariffin took over in 1974, he started from scratch. I will have to check with those who served before 1974 to find out more,” said Abang Zulkarnain.

Former Sarawak FA secretary Jefry Lana, who served from 2016 until November last year, also admitted he never saw the trophy during his time in office.

The Burnley Cup, a tournament for Under-19 footballers, was introduced after former Malaya coach Choo Seng Quee returned from a six-month coaching course in England. During his stint abroad, he was attached to Burnley and Sheffield and had apparently returned to Malaya with two trophies courtesy of the English clubs.

The Burnley Cup, for Under-19 players, was only held six times between 1962 and 1972 with Penang and Selangor each winning three times.

Selangor won the inaugural edition in 1962, was joint winner with Penang in 1969 and shared the trophy with Perak in 1971. Penang was champion in 1965 and 1967.

Sarawak was the last winner in 1972.

Many Malaysian legends such as Datuk Mokhtar Dahari and Datuk Dell Akhbar Khan played in the tournament which was later changed to Razak Cup and is today known as President’s Cup.

Dell Akhbar, who served as FAM general secretary from 2000 to 2005, was also clueless about the Burnley Cup.

“My brother (the late Sardar Khan) was coached by Choo. He was a really good youth coach. As for the Burnley Cup, I remember playing in the tournament but I don’t remember how the trophy looks like,” said Dell Akhbar.

“During my time in FAM, I never came across the Burnley Cup. And I’m not too sure if there’s a Sheffield Cup.”