Monday, September 25, 2017

Top to bottom

Myanmar’s entrants to continental competition Yangon United and Ayeyawady United face off later today with both sides three games into the season and without a win.

Chizoba (30) – also known as Iyikwobe celebrates after another goal scored in a losing effort. Photo: AUFC/FacebookChizoba (30) – also known as Iyikwobe celebrates after another goal scored in a losing effort. Photo: AUFC/Facebook

Languishing in 10th and 11th spots in the Myanmar National League, their game at Kyaut Tie Stadium has been brought forward to today in order to give Yangon time to prepare for their Asian Champions League Qualification Round 2 game on February 2 against 2015’s fourth-place Thai Premier League side Chonburi FC.

It also marks the return to Pathein of Marjan Sekulovski – the double knockout cup-winning former manager of Ayeyawady – after his recent appointment to the top job at Yangon.

Sekulovski was appointed to the Lions, only a day after he was paid a six-month’s settlement by the Delta Boys, who dismissed him one game into this year’s Myanmar National League after he was forced to move into a technical director’s role and replaced on the bench by Kyaw Lwin.

The only bright spark in a troublesome season so far for the Red Wave has been the performance of new Nigerian signing Christopher Chizoba who has scored four goals over their four losing causes. Chizoba currently sits at the top of the MNL-1 goal-scoring charts.

“Chizoba is a talented athlete and we are happy with his performances but we clearly need to see better play from players around him. If we can achieve that then Christopher’s goals will lead us to many victories,” said Ayeyawady’s team manager Myo Win.

“We’ve got a plan for how we’re going to do that against Yangon United, but it will be tough. Both sides need the points,” he added.

Yet to light up the net in the same way this season have been Yangon’s new Brazilian duo Adilson de Santos Souza and Marcelo Fernades. With the 2016 season’s new rule forbidding more than three foreign players taking the field at any one time, Marcelo has had limited time on the pitch. Adilson – who has started all three league games – is yet to hit the back of the net this season.

Adilson did however contribute to Yangon’s sole point this season when he slipped the ball through to Kyaw Ko Ko to give the Lions the lead in their eventual 1-1 draw with Shan United last week. The Brazilian has also a goal to his name against Ayeyawady this year from his side’s 1-0 victory in Myanmar’s Charity Cup.

Saturday’s games include the visit of Rakhine United to Mandalay to face Rene Desaeyere’s league-leaders Yadanarbon. Yadanarbon demolished newcomers Horizon 5-1 last week but after the game the Belgian manager – who was a colleague of Manchester United’s Louis Van Gaal when they played at Royal Antwerp – said he was still not happy with his side’s performances. “This is not my football,” said the Desaeyere after the Horizon game. “The players aren’t performing the way they did last year. They aren’t showing the same fitness.”

Also playing January 30 at Thuwunna YTC in Yangon are the surprise package of the season so far, Hantharwady United. The team have taken seven points from three games and their wins over Ayeyawady and Yangon partially explain those two sides’ predicaments.

The Bago Region representatives have more to look forward to as they confirmed their plans to play in front of home fans in Taungoo for the second half of the season.

But this weekend they meet with Chin United, who after their opening-day defeat have thrown up a few surprises themselves, holding Yadanarbon to a goalless draw before destroying the league’s only perfect record with a 2-1 win over Magwe.

Zwekapin United will be hoping to maintain focus and beat a struggling Southern Myanmar side at Aung San Stadium in the day’s final fixture.

Sunday sees Shan United travel to Zeyar Shwe Myay while Thuwunna YTC Stadium will host Horizon who will be hoping their attractive style of play can bring them a better result over a Magwe side licking their wounds after losing their perfect start to the season.

10 19 20
10 10 22
10 6 21
Ayeyawady United
10 5 15
Rakhine United
10 0 14
Magwe FC
10 -2 13
Zwekapin United
10 -4 13
Nay Pyi Taw FC
10 -8 9
10 -6 8
10 -6 7
Chin United
10 -7 7
10 -7 6
Last Updated - 1 April 2017
Manaw Myay
22 51 52
22 21 49
Nay Pyi Taw FC
22 33 48
Mahar United
22 31 48
Myawady FC
22 23 36
Mawyawadi FC
22 1 35
City Stars
22 1 28
University FC
22 -17 23
Dagon FC
22 -11 20
Pong Gan
22 -37 12
United of Thanlyin
22 -47 11
Silver Stars
22 -49 10
Last Updated - 28 August 2016