Monday, September 25, 2017

Shield 2017 kicks off May 2

The annual Myanmar National League (MNL) football competition kicks off on May 2 with 22 clubs in contention for the prestigious Gen Aung San Shield this year.

MFF general secretary U Ko Ko Thein pulls out a number during the official team draw yesterday. Photo - MFFMFF general secretary U Ko Ko Thein pulls out a number during the official team draw yesterday. Photo - MFF

It is the seventh edition of the tournament that began in 2010.

The opening day’s action will feature 12 teams beginning with Pong Gan football club taking on Gospel For Asia (GFA), followed by five other matches: Silver Stars vs City Stars; Phoenix vs Mawyawadi; Myawady vs City Yangon; Nay Pyi Taw vs Dagon; and Mahar United vs University football club, and in effect launch the incoming football season.

The winners on opening day will qualify to the round of 16, and thereon all the matches will be played on knockout basis until the semi-final stage, which will be played on home and away basis.

Nay Pi Taw football club and GFA won promotion to MNL this year. The matches also mark the start of competition in the MNL-2 division.

As such the top league will feature 16 teams – the ten MNL clubs and six winners from opening day’s action.

Until 2014 clubs competing in the tournament vied for what was originally the MFF Knockout Cup, but in 2015 the winner’s trophy was renamed Gen Aung San Shield in memory to the late general and to celebrate his birth centenary that year.

Yangon United and Magwe players vie for the Gen Aung San Shield in the final last year. Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar TimesYangon United and Magwe players vie for the Gen Aung San Shield in the final last year. Nyan Zay Htet / The Myanmar Times

The team winning the tournament will receive K30 million, the runners-up K15 million while the four semi-finalists will be awarded K7.5 million each.

The tournament is not just a knockout competition but also a ticket to the lucrative AFC Cup in which leading clubs from Asia compete. The MNL winner will get the chance to compete in the AFC Cup next year.

The tournament is also a chance for MNL-2 teams to fulfill their Asian dream. Big MNL teams aspire for the big break.  Last year, Magwe beat Yangon United 2-1 in the final and qualified for the AFC Cup for the first time.

Yangon Untied coach U Myo Min Tun said yesterday after the teams were drawn, ‘‘We will focus on both league and knockout formats this season. We’ll pay attention to each match.’’

In the knockout competition, Ayeyawady United are the most successful club having won it three times, followed by Hantharwady United, Yangon United and Magwe who have won it once each.

TeamGPGDPTS
10 19 20
10 10 22
Yadanarbon
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
GFA FC
10 -7 6
Last Updated - 1 April 2017
TeamGPGDPTS
Manaw Myay
22 51 52
GFA
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