myanmar from asias pride to prolonged football slide
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
Arab Today, arab today

As barefoot players jostle for the ball

Myanmar, from Asia's pride to prolonged football slide

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Myanmar, from Asia's pride to prolonged football slide

Football in Myanmar has avid fans
Yangon - Arab Today

Shouts reverberate under the concrete overpass as barefoot players jostle for the ball, a sad echo of Myanmar's long-lost footballing glory days which authorities are now hoping to revive.

Once an Asian powerhouse, Myanmar's football fortunes suffered a precipitous decline under the former military junta whose 50-year reign ravaged the economy and sporting infrastructure.

Myanmar, formerly Burma, won the 1966 and 1970 Asian Games and were crowned Southeast Asian champions five times in a row. But they are now wallowing at 159th in the FIFA rankings, much to the dismay of their long-suffering fans.

Ye Aung Oo, who plays under the Yangon overpass every night, says he hopes attempts to stimulate football at the grassroots level will help turn Myanmar's passion into prowess on the pitch.

"I have loved playing football since I was young and I wanted to play professionally," said the 20-year-old computer technician.

He admits that the national team "needs a lot" of work, but adds: "I hope that with time we will be successful, now that more support is being developed."

Hopes of a rebirth are now growing with FIFA president Gianni Infantino set to open a new academy in Yangon on Friday, part of a push to reinvigorate grassroots football.

The British Council has also brought in experts from English Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Newcastle United and Everton to teach dozens of coaches.

The Myanmar Football Federation is training 50 young players to take part in the ASEAN under-18 competition to be held September, and another pan-Asian competition the following month. 

And the body is extending its scouting network to 52 towns and cities to find more young talent for its football academies.

"Most international football federation can access very talented players easily" from domestic clubs, explained chief executive Phone Naing Zaw.

But in Myanmar, "the MFF has to dig to the grassroots, open football training classes and run academies. This is very different."

- Fallen Angels -

Myanmar's "golden age" of the 1960s and 70s, which also included a berth at the 1972 Munich Olympics, still evokes nostalgia among fans and players.

"We were very good at football at that time and went to (South) Korea," said 71-year-old former defender Myo Win Nyunt, describing the 1972 President's Cup.

"We beat them at home and became the champions. That was my greatest memory as we did it for our country," he told AFP at his home, surrounded by trophies from a bygone era.

But the glory of Myanmar's national team, the White Angels, faded as the junta's stranglehold on the economy tightened.

Amidst the decline, former military leader Than Shwe considered buying Manchester United for $1 billion before shelving the idea, according to leaked US diplomatic cables from 2009.

Today Myanmar's National League still inspires fierce rivalries and even hooliganism among its avid fans, but matches rarely draw big crowds.

Football fans are more likely to be found watching Arsenal or Chelsea in a street corner beer station than attending domestic matches, or playing themselves.

Many blame the dearth of green spaces in cities like Yangon, which have been eaten up by the housing developments that have mushroomed as the economy fires back to life as Myanmar reopens to the outside world.

Others bemoan a lack of sport in schools, academic pressure on students, and a shortage of well-qualified scouts to seek out new talent.

"There were many playgrounds to play football in Yangon (when I was young) and now there are none," said prominent sports journalist Sein Myo Myint.

"Students have to have extra tuition before school and again after school, so they have no time to go to the football pitch."

Source: AFP

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

myanmar from asias pride to prolonged football slide myanmar from asias pride to prolonged football slide

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

myanmar from asias pride to prolonged football slide myanmar from asias pride to prolonged football slide

 



GMT 20:58 2016 Tuesday ,22 November

ADB, AIIB Approve $227m Loan for Bangladesh

GMT 10:42 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Intends to take measures against authority

GMT 16:57 2017 Sunday ,12 February

Strong 6.3 earthquake jolts Pakistan coast

GMT 09:10 2017 Thursday ,28 September

Trump and Republicans roll out tax reform plan

GMT 00:31 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Partly cloudy with slight drop in temperatures

GMT 13:05 2017 Friday ,03 November

Syrian regime forces restore control on Deir Al Zour

GMT 02:23 2017 Saturday ,07 October

(June22nd-July23rd

GMT 12:35 2012 Friday ,01 June

Journey through cherry orchards of Pella

GMT 09:14 2016 Wednesday ,14 September

Clinton Expected Back on Campaign Trail Friday

GMT 07:36 2017 Friday ,29 December

Obama most admired man among Americans: Gallup poll

GMT 05:20 2017 Wednesday ,25 October

Trump feud with key senator overshadows tax push

GMT 00:04 2017 Friday ,10 November

Airbus nears deal to sell over 30 A380s

GMT 08:23 2017 Saturday ,05 August

UAE participates in 8th Francophone Games
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube

Maintained and developed by Arabs Today Group SAL.
All rights reserved to Arab Today Media Group 2021 ©

Maintained and developed by Arabs Today Group SAL.
All rights reserved to Arab Today Media Group 2021 ©

arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday