2023 King’s Cup: All you need to know- Dates, Venues, and Star Attractions
The extravagant saga of the Durand Cup is over, the knights of the Indian National Team will be now grouping up for a one-off international assignment before the grand kick-off of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season. It’s now time for Thailand to prepare the battlefield for an epic showdown where three touring Asian counterparts will be marching towards the Land of Smiles in the conquest of the prestigious King’s Cup.
The four-nation tournament was founded by the Football Association of Thailand in the year 1968 to provide more international exposure to the Changsuek side. It has been organized every year since its inception with the exception of 1983, 1985, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2020 and 2021 due to various catastrophic reasons. The 49th edition of the annual competition will open the treasure of FIFA rating points for all four participants as it will coincide with the FIFA Matchday Calendar and all its fixtures have been certified as International ‘A’ Matches.
In the previous edition, we witnessed Tajikistan edging Malaysia in the finals and lifting the trophy in their maiden King’s Cup appearance. Harimau Malaya presented a strong contention for the title keeping the scoreline intact until the end of the regulation time but the Persian Lions eventually emerged victorious in the penalty shootout. Meanwhile, the hosts Thailand secured their 21st bronze medal honor after defeating Trinidad and Tobago by 2-1 in the third-place battle.
The hosts Thailand has participated in each and every 48 editions of this tournament to date and graced the champions’ podium 15 times while settling for the silver medal on 11 occasions. India will be eyeing to make their first final appearance after having achieved two bronze medals in 1977 and 2019. Representing the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), Iraq and Lebanon are set to compete for the Thai title for the second time.
King’s Cup will consist of two match days consisting of double-header clashes on both days. The anticipated tournament will kick-start on Thursday when both semi-final clashes will be underway.
Then the four-nation saga will be moving towards its second and final matchday where the prestigious trophy and medals will be placed at stakes on 11th September. It has been usually organized in the June-September window since 2016, except for the year 2018 when the 46th edition was held in March month.
King’s Cup has a tradition of the entire tournament being held at a solitary venue ever since its inception. The forthcoming edition will be taking place at the same venue that got the hosting honor in the previous year. The 700th Anniversary Stadium from the city of Mueang of Chiang Mai province is all set to accommodate the second successive season of this cup competition.
It is one of the only four venues that have hosted this tournament over the past decade after receiving the hosting rights for the first time in the year 2013. The football arena, having a seating capacity of a maximum of 25,000 spectators serves as home ground for the Thai League 2 outfit Chingmai FC and has also commemorated many grand events such as the 1995 Southeast Asian Games and 1998 Asian Games. It is also currently accommodating the Thai top-division side Lamphun Warriors as their provisional home venue.
|Country||Federation||FIFA Ranking||Head Coach||Captain||Last Appearance|
|Thailand||AFF||113||Alexandre Polking||Theerathon Bunmathan||2022|
|Iraq||WAFF||70||Jesus Casas||Jalal Hassan||2007|
|India||SAFF||99||Igor Stimac||Sandesh Jhingan||2019|
|Lebanon||WAFF||100||Aleksandar Ilic||Hassan Maatouk||2009|
All traditional football rules will be followed in the tournament however, the extra-time period of 30 minutes has been excluded from the game format. The play will be directly heading to the penalty shootout if the final scoreline is equivalent at the end of the regulation time. Meanwhile, the number of substitutions allowed for one team in one match has been kept at five.
It will be a knockout event where the draws will be directly starting from the semi-final round between four participants. Earlier, the tournament had a round-robin group stage format, then the knockout format was adopted and every edition since 2016 has followed the same. The two losing teams from the semi-final stages will be getting another opportunity to finish the campaign with a medal in the third-place match.
The tournament has witnessed many prolific stars such as Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Peter Schmeichel, and Sunil Chhetri gracing the field and battling out for the laurels. The long list of honors will be getting bigger in the auspicious presence of Jalal Hassan, Ali Adnan, Amjad Attwan, Hassan Maatouk, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and Sandesh Jhinghan. However, the 39-year-old legendary striker Chhetri who scored India’s solitary goal against Curaçao in the semifinals of the 2019 edition has opted out to perform paternal duties.
Don’t miss: 2023 Durand Cup Team of the Tournament
The Blue Tigers have been indulged in a fierce rivalry with Lebanese Cedars recently due to their intense clashes at the Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championship held earlier this year. The two competing nations may have not been drafted to face each other in the first round but there is a possibility that these Asian counterparts may square off on the final matchday. Fielding their full-strength squad for the first time, the highest-ranked participant nation Iraq is the ultimate favorite to win this multi-nation contest.