Saturday, August 19, 2017

ACE wins inaugural Tiger Futsal League

The winning team, ACE FC, celebrate after their victory over UPT FC in the inaugural Tiger Footsal League at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon on September 13. Aung Si Hein/ The Myanmar TimesThe winning team, ACE FC, celebrate after their victory over UPT FC in the inaugural Tiger Footsal League at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon on September 13. Aung Si Hein/ The Myanmar TimesACE FC was crowned Tiger Futsal League champions after thrashing UPT FC 5-2 in the final of the four-month-long competition at Thuwanna Indoor Stadium on September 13.

Victory meant ACE pocketed the K6 million (US$7500) prize money, while runners-up UPT took home K3 million. Rakhine United FC pocketed K2 million for finishing third, Yangon City FC collected K1 million for finishing fourth, while USM FC received a fair play prize.

With Myanmar Football Federation chairman U Zaw Zaw and a crowd of about 1000 spectators looking on, the final kicked off on September 13.

Both sides had accrued 33 points from their 13 matches up to that point but ACE, with a better goal difference, held the advantage and needed only a draw to clinch the title.

“We went down to them 3-1 in the first leg and wanted to pay them back,” said ACE captain Wunna Aung. “Even if we only needed a draw to win the title, we were determined to beat them,” he said.

However, as the match neared an end and it became apparent that ACE won, some members of the crowd began to misbehave and threw empty drinking bottles at ACE players on the pitch.

Wunna Aung was hit on the head by a bottle, which split the skin and drew blood, leaving him with a bandage after the match. “Their behaviour was wrong.

I was happy they came and cheered but I don’t appreciate the behaviour late in the match,” he said. Held by the Myanmar Football Federation, the Tiger Futsal League 2011 was the first professional competition staged in Myanmar, although amateur-level contests have been held for the past four years.

U Tin Maung Htay, ACE’s assistant coach, said he expected the league to grow to 12 teams next year, with a knock-out competition to be held at some stage.

U Tin Maung Htay said the competition’s organisers needed to do more to attract fans into a league that might offer the next batch of Myanmar National League stars a chance to get their start. Wunna Tun Aung was nominated player of the tournament and teammate Naing Ye Kyaw received an award for scoring the most goals in the league – 28.

Each player received K500,000. “I hope the young futsal players keep going. A lot of promising young blood came out in the league. Previously, players joined the competition without going through any proper training but now it’s professional and requires more skill.

“With players regularly practicing, the games have been very competitive,” Wunna Aung told The Myanmar Times after the match. Winning the league also guaranteed ACE entry into the Asian Football Confederation’s Futsal Championship in July 2012. Futsal is a shortened version of football and usually played indoors. Each side has five players on the pitch who contest over two 20-minute halves.