Myanmar defeat Nepal 3-0 in friendly as Antoine Hey marks return with win


Myanmar have defeated Nepal 3-0 in an international friendly match on Thursday in what was returning head coach Antoine Hey’s first game in charge. 

German tactician Hey was reappointed as Myanmar national team head coach after the sacking of Miodrag Radulovic following a disappointing start by the Asian Lions to their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers campaign.

And Hey made a memorable return to management guiding his team to a 3-0 win at the Mandalarthiri Stadium in Mandalay. Suan La Mang, David Htan and Hlaing Bo Bo scored for the victors against Nepal, who are 167th in the FIFA World Rankings.

The Asian Lions will face Turkmenistan in another friendly match at Mandalay on November 10, four days before they face Tajikistan in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round tie.

They will then play Mongolia, to whom they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to in their qualification opener in September, on November 19.

Myanmar are currently bottom of Group F after three matches and yet to collect a point. Japan are top of the group with nine points while Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan are second and third with six points each. Mongolia sit above Myanmar with three points.

49-year-old Hey was previously sacked by Myanmar Football Federation in December 2018 after a poor AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 campaign, but has returned less than 11 months after his departure.

(Photo credit: Myanmar FootballFederation)

Myanmar Football Federation, FA Malaysia honoured at AFC Dream Asia Awards 2019


Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) has been honoured at the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Dream Asia Awards 2019 for their efforts to empower communities.

The AFC Dream Asia Awards was instituted in 2018 “to recognise the commitment and expanding efforts of the AFC Member Associations who use football as a catalyst for social development.”

And Myanmar have been awarded the Developing Member Association honour this year ahead of Hong Kong Football Association and Bangladesh Football Federation who settled for silver and bronze respectively.

“From bringing hope to the underprivileged, to championing worthy causes such as healthy living, lifelong education and environment conservation, the MFF continues to empower communities across the Southeast Asian nation through football,” AFC wrote on its website.

“…The MFF has partnered with league clubs, sponsors and community groups to introduce a wide-range of meaningful outreach programmes, which include the MFF Charity Cup 2019, the MFF- MNL Awards Night and a tree planting for environmental conservation event in Yangon,” it said.

“Going beyond the comfort of its borders, the MFF was also instrumental in organising a donation drive to help the resettlement for flood and earthquake victims in Laos and Indonesia,” AFC added.

Japan Football Association won the Inspiring Member Association award for their efforts to empower and improve societies through various programmes including Football Exchange Project with ASEAN.

Chinese Football Association took the silver medal in the category while Football Association of Malaysia took the bronze medal.

Third third category — Aspiring Member Association — was won by Guam Football Association ahead of Palestine Football Association and Mongolian Football Federation.

(Photo credit: Myanmar Football Federation)

Myanmar sack head coach Miodrag Radulovic and bring back former boss Antoine Hey


Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) have announced that they have parted ways with national team head coach Miodrag Radulovic after the Asian Lions’ poor start to their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers campaign.

MFF said on Sunday that they had terminated their agreement with the Montenegrin coach by mutual agreement between the two parties. They also announced the return of German coach Antoine Hey as the new Myanmar boss.

“After analysing the recent World Cup Qualifiers matches, MFF decided that Radulovic is not suitable for the head coach position and decided to cancel the agreement,” the MFF said in a statement.

“MFF needed to appoint a new head coach immediately and Antonie Hey is already familiar with Myanmar football. MFF decided to appoint him as new the head coach,” read the statement.

“Also, U Kyi Lwin will be appointed as new assistant head coach to compete in the remaining 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round matches,” MFF added.

Former Lebanon national team manager Radulovic was named as the Myanmar head coach back in April 2019. But Radulovic saw his side suffer a shock 1-0 defeat to Mongolia in the World Cup Qualifiers opener before going down 2-0 to Japan and 7-0 to Kyrgyz Republic.

Hey, meanwhile, was sacked after Myanmar exited the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 in the group stages last December.

Myanmar women to face big guns Brazil and China in international tournament


Myanmar women’s national football team will face some of the heavyweights of the women’s game in the China Invitational Women’s Football Tournament to be held in November.

The ASEAN side are one of the four teams invited to take part in the four-nation tournament to be conducted by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) from November 4 to 12. And according to Myanmar Times, a Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) official has confirmed their participation in the tournament.

The other teams in the tournament are Brazil representing South America, New Zealand representing Oceania and hosts China PR.

All teams in the tournament — apart from Myanmar — were participants in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup held in France earlier this year and will give good competition for the Asian Lionesses who are preparing for the 30th Southeast Asian Games to be held in Philippines from November 30 to December 11.

The Southeast Asians are scheduled to continue their training for 2019 SEA Games in China and are expected to play friendly matches with women’s team there.

While Brazil and China reached the Round of 16 of the World Cup where they were knocked out by France and Italy respectively, New Zealand crashed out in the group stages after finishing behind the Netherlands, Canada and Cameroon in Group E.

Brazil are ranked 11th in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings while China are 16th. New Zealand occupy the 23rd place while ASEAN side are 45th.

Myanmar had finished second runners-up in the AFF Women’s Championship 2019 held last month defeating Philippines 3-0 in the third-place play-off.

(Photo courtesy: Myanmar Football Federation)

Indonesia only bid from ASEAN as Thailand, Myanmar withdraw joint effort for FIFA U20 World Cup 2021

FIFA U20 world cup indonesia

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) have withdrawn from their joint bid to host the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2021.

This means that Indonesia are the only ASEAN nation still in contention for the rights to host the U20 world championship in 2021.

FIFA had in July confirmed that they had received bids from eight nations including Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar to host the event. 

The announcement about the withdrawal by Thailand and Myanmar was made during the third ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Council Meeting for 2019-23 held in Pattaya, Thailand on Tuesday.

“We are naturally very happy that Indonesia have emerged as the only bid from ASEAN to host the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2021,” PSSI general secretary and AFF vice-president Ratu Tisha Destria told the official website of the AFF.

“With this latest development, we are hopeful that the whole of ASEAN will support Indonesia’s bidding process and consequent hosting of this major FIFA championship,” she said.

“We welcome this new development and I would like to reiterate our firm support for Indonesia in their bid to host the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2021,” AFF president Khiev Sameth said.

This means that Indonesia will battle three other bids to host the FIFA U20 World Cup.

Bahrain Football Association, Saudi Arabian Football Federation and United Arab Emirates Football Association have mounted a joint bid to host the competition while there are also individual bids from Brazil and Peru.

Myanmar set up friendly match with Asian giants China PR ahead of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Could naturalised players make China a football powerhouse?

ASEAN outfit Myanmar have set up a friendly match with Asian football giants China PR ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers starting in September.

Myanmar are in Group F of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers along with Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Mongolia. Meanwhile, China are placed in Group A with Syria, Philippines, Guam and Maldives.

AFC Asian Cup 2019: Thailand 1-1 China PR – Xiao Zhi (67′)

Myanmar will open their campaign against Mongolia on September 5 before facing former Asian champions Japan on September 10.

The friendly scheduled to be held at the  Xianghe National Football Training Centre in Langfang, China will take place days before the first qualifiers match on August 30.

It is being reported that the Myanmar Football Federation and the Chinese Football Association have agreed to hold the match behind closed doors without spectators.

Myanmar are preparing for the World Cup Qualifiers under their new head coach Miodrag Radulovic who joined the Asian Lions from Lebanon in April. They had defeated Singapore 2-1 in a friendly match in June under the Montenegrin coach.

China, coached by Marcello Lippi, will open their World Cup qualification campaign against Maldives away from home on September 10 before taking on Guam at home on October 10.

Myanmar to host UEFA ASSIST U-16 Tournament also featuring Korea Republic, Montenegro & Indonesia


Myanmar will host Korea Republic, Montenegro and Indonesia for the International U-16 Boys Tournament 2019 under the UEFA ASSIST programme in August 2019.

The tournament will be held at the Mandalarthiri Stadium in Mandalay from August 14 to 18 with teams playing each other in a round-robin format.

Korea Republic U-16s will face Montenegro U-16s in the opening match of the tournament on August 14 followed by a match between hosts Myanmar and Indonesia the same day.

Myanmar and reigning champions Indonesia will both take part in the AFF U-16 Championship 2019 to be held from July 27 to August 9. The duo are in Group A of the regional youth championship where they will be joined by Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Singapore and Philippines.

The UEFA ASSIST is an international programme conducted by UEFA with the hope of “increasing solidarity and enhancing football development to tackle the needs of national associations and confederations outside Europe.”

According to UEFA’s website, the main scope of UEFA ASSIST is “to essentially to share knowledge and best practices to help UEFA’s sister confederations to develop and strengthen football within their respective territories.”

It is designed to provide practical rather than financial assistance and to offer support through development activities, it said. The tournament is held across the globe in various age groups including U-15 and U-17.

 UEFA ASSIST International U-16 Boys Tournament 2019 Fixtures:

August 14 – Korea Republic U-16 vs Montenegro U-16
August 14 – Myanmar U-16 vs Indonesia U-16

August 16 – Montenegro U-16 vs Indonesia U-16
August 16 – Myanmar U-16 vs Korea Republic 16

August 18 – Indonesia U-16 vs Korea Republic U-16
August 18 – Montenegro U-16 vs Myanmar U-16

FIFA confirm two separate bids from ASEAN to host FIFA U-20 World Cup 2021

FIFA U-20 World Cup

FIFA, the world governing body for football, have confirmed that Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia have officially bid to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2021.

In fact, all eight nations who had expressed interest to host the U-20 World Cup back in May have gone ahead and made their bids official.

While Myanmar Football Federation and Football Association of Thailand will join hands for a joint bid, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) have bid independently for the world championship.

“All eight Member Associations who expressed interest in hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2021 have confirmed their participation in the bidding process by submitting the relevant terms and conditions by 21 June,” AFC said in a statement.

“As some have opted for a joint application, a total of five bids will be in the race as they prepare to submit their proposals by 30 August,” it said.

Three of five bids for the U-20 World Cup is from Asia.

“In accordance with the Overview of the Bidding Process, FIFA will review and assess the bids received, and a final decision is then expected to be made by the FIFA Council at its next meeting in Shanghai, China PR, on 23 and 24 October,” the statement read.

Bahrain Football Association, Saudi Arabian Football Federation and United Arab Emirates Football Association have come together for one joint bid while Myanmar and Thailand are the countries involved in the other joint bid.

Apart from them, Indonesia, Brazil and Peru have submitted bid documents to FIFA.

Three ASEAN nations express interest to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2021, FIFA confirm

FIFA U-20 World Cup

Three Southeast Asian nations are among the member associations looking to win the rights to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2021, FIFA have confirmed.

The 2019 edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, featuring 24 countries, got off to a start in Poland on Thursday with the final scheduled to be held at the Stadion Widzewa in Lodz on June 15.

The AFC have confirmed that FIFA, the world football’s governing body, have received three expressions of interest from Member Associations (MA) in Asia.

The Myanmar Football Federation have joined hands with the Football Association of Thailand to express their interest in co-hosting the 2021 edition of the U-20 World Cup.

Meanwhile, the Persatuan Sepakbola Seluruh Indonesia (PSSI) are also in the running as they have expressed interest to host the tournament in Indonesia.

The third expression of interest from the continent is a joint bid from Bahrain Football Association, Saudi Arabian Football Federation and United Arab Emirates Football Association to co-host the championship in the Middle East.

Brazil and Peru are the two other countries who have also expressed interest in hosting the event.

“In accordance with the Overview of the Bidding Process distributed in April to all member associations, FIFA will dispatch all bidding and hosting documents to the MAs who expressed their interest on Thursday,” the AFC said.

The deadline to submit the bids is August 30, with the host expected to be appointed by the FIFA Council at its meeting in the fourth quarter of 2019, it said.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup has been hosted in Asia seven times in the past with the latest coming in 2017 when Korea Republic played host.

Three-time AFC Champions League winners Pohang Steelers to face Myanmar national team on May 30


K League club Pohang Steelers will play two friendly matches in Myanmar this month as the illustrious South Korean club tour the country with the aim of strengthening ties between Myanmar and Korea Republic.

Pohang will face a Myanmar National League Team, consisting of prominent stars playing in the country’s top flight, on May 28 before facing the Myanmar U-22 national team on May 30. Both matches will be played at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon.

The club, that finished fourth in the K League last season, are the most successful club in Asia having won the AFC Champions League thrice — in 1997, 1998 and 2009. They have also won their domestic league five times — last title coming in 2013.

The Myanmar Football Federation have announced that the entry to the matches will be free of cost.

This is Pohang’s second visit to Myanmar having travelled to the country once before in 1994.

Myanmar appoint Velizar Popov for 2019 SEA Games

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Bulgarian coach Velizar Popov has been handed the reins of the Myanmar Under-22 team for this year’s 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila.

Still only 42 but with plenty of managerial experience under his belt already, Popov’s appointment was announced by Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) on Wednesday evening.

The Bulgarian – a UEFA Pro Licence holder – is no stranger to the region, having had spells in Thailand with Suphanburi and Sisaket as well as in Malaysia with Kelantan.

In fact, Popov has coached solely in Asia since 2012 with stints in Oman and Maldives as well, the latter of which involving being in charge of the national team in 2015.

Myanmar are widely regarded as an emerging force in Southeast Asia but have seen their progress stagnate recently, highlighted by their group-stage exit at the last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup following a semi-final appearance in 2016.

The Under-23s also finished runners-up at the 2015 SEA Games, which was followed by a fourth-place finish two years later – when the tournament was converted to an Under-22 competition.

There is certainly no shortage of outstanding talent for Popov to work with, although inconsistency and indiscipline are often recognised as two factors preventing Myanmar from reaching the level of regional powerhouses Thailand and Vietnam.

But, with six players from the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 squad eligible for this year’s SEA Games – Phone Thit Sar Min, Sann Sat Naing, Soe Moe Kyaw, Ye Yint Aung, Htet Phyo Wai and Lwin Moe Aung – Popov will definitely have some youngsters with valuable experience to build his side around, along with fellow bright prospects Myat Kaung Khant and Hein Phyo Win.

Photo credit: Myanmar Football Federation

Myanmar sack national team coach Antoine Hey citing AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 failure

Antoine Hey Myanmar

The Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) has announced that it has parted ways with national team head coach Antoine Hey, days after the Asian Lions exited the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 in the group stages.

“Myanmar Football Federation has terminated national team head coach Antoine Hey’s contract by mutual agreement today (December 13) at the MFF office,” the MFF said on its website.

“Over the past seven months, he has helped the Myanmar national team to evolve as a team, and tried to get success in the group matches of AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and the Asian Games 2018 football tournament,” it said.

“However, the national team failed to reach the semifinal target of AFF Suzuki Cup,” the MFF said.

The MFF said that its technical committee met on Wednesday during which it was decided that the contract of the 48-year-old German coach will be terminated.

“But the committee agreed that he is not the only person responsible for the failure in AFF Suzuki Cup 2018. We need to consider the lack of various resources such as the standard of stadium and play grounds, players, financial assistants, youth competitions and other developments,” the MFF said.

Meanwhile, Hey, who has also coached the national teams of Kenya and Rwanda among others, thanked his players and MFF officials for their support during his stint with the Myanmar national team.

“I would like to thank my team, our players, officials and members of the Myanmar Football Federation. It was an honour and privilege to work with you. My best wishes for the future for you all. May all your targets be achieved one day. A special thanks to our supporters — you have been fantastic!” said Hey.

Myanmar had collected seven points form the first three matches of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and looked poised to reach a historic semifinal. However, a 3-0 defeat to eventual finalists Malaysia in the final group match saw them crash out of the tournament.

Fans have their say: Who holds the key to future of Myanmar football?

FOX Sports Asia recently conducted a poll asking fans to vote for who they think is the key to leading Myanmar football forward.

The three options were:

1) “The Talent”: The players on the field are the ones that truly mattered. Stars such as Aung Thu, Kyaw Ko Ko and Yan Aung Kyaw have the biggest say on how far the White Angels go in the future.

2) “The Brains”: It comes down to the coaching staff, headed by national team head Gerd Zeise. How well they train the players and the style of football would be the most vital aspect.

3) “The Establishment”: It all boils down to what is done behind the scenes by the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF), led by president Zaw Zaw. Areas like youth development and infrastructure are the most important components.

The votes are in and it is Zaw Zaw and the MFF that fans believe will play the most crucial role in continuing the growth of Myanmar football in the years to come.

798 voted for Zaw Zaw’s “Establishment”, who finished comfortably ahead of Aung Thu and “The Talent” (361 votes), while Gerd Zeise had to settle for third place with 59 votes.

While it remains to be seen what heights Myanmar do reach in the future, there is no denying how much they have prospered in recent years after Zaw Zaw’s leadership.

Having been appointed as MFF chairman in 2005, the 50-year-old has also served as an Executive Committee member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and is the current vice president of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF).

Since 2013, the MFF has twice been named the AFF Association of the Year, as well as the AFC Dream Asia award.

On the field, there was also the historic achievement of qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, while the senior team remain firmly in the running to book their place at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, which would see them take their place among the continent’s elite for the first time since they were runners-up in 1968.