Saturday, June 24, 2017
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Raddy out, Gerd in

The Myanmar Football Federation have parted ways with Serbian coach Raddy Avramovic and elevated German Gerd Zeise from coach of the U19/U20s squads to place him in charge of the nation’s senior squad.

Serbian Raddy Avramovic (top) will be replaced as national football coach by German Gerd Zeise (bottom). Photos: AFP and MFF/FacebookSerbian Raddy Avramovic (top) will be replaced as national football coach by German Gerd Zeise (bottom). Photos: AFP and MFF/Facebook

A statement made by the Myanmar Football Federation on October 18 said the decision had been made “so Myanmar could win international matches in the future and produce better football players”.

On October 18 the MFF announced that they had paid Avramovic off with three months’ severance. In 22 games at the helm the Serbian oversaw seven wins, four draws and 11 losses.

The appointment is a popular one as the German has sat close to the hearts of Myanmar’s football fans since he masterminded the youth side’s qualification for the FIFA U20 World Cup.

“I’d like to see the whole U20s team [in the senior squad], football fan Kyaw Min Thant took to the Myanmar Football Federation’s Facebook page to declare.

“Please use Than Paing and players from the U19 side … remove Kyaw Ko Ko, Yan Aung Kyaw and the old players of the national side as they are not good in spirit and lack in effort … Remove these old players who … give the national team nightmares,” Kyaw Aung Soe added.

Zeise had two years with the squad, who as hosts were not required to qualify for the 2014 Asian U19 Championship before winning only a single game against group winners Thailand to reach the knockout stages.

A goal from Than Paing gave the team a surprise 1-0 quarter-final win over the United Arab Emirates and saw Myanmar qualify for their first FIFA World Cup at any level.

However, once the Young White Angels reached the global stage they took an early lead against the United States before stuttering to lose the game 2-1 before a 6-0 loss to Ukraine and a 5-1 defeat to hosts New Zealand.

Despite Myanmar fans’ apparent belief in the ability of the U20s to step up to the senior stage, even Zeise has expressed his doubts.

Before the World Cup Zeise told The Myanmar Times he believed six of his squad would be elevated to the senior side and the German regularly bemoaned the lack of depth in the U20s side beyond the first-eleven.

“We must be realists. The party is over. I must apologise to the Myanmar fans. I am responsible for this disaster, but I can’t turn a cyclist into a racing driver,” Zeise said in a press conference after their 6-0 defeat at the World Cup.

Zeise put the success of his side down to the long preparation period the team had enjoyed.

“People ask why we are so strong and it is because we spend every day together like a club team, like a family. After two years we are like family,” Zeise told The Myanmar Times before their New Zealand journey.

But now Zeise must mold that team, with elements of the U23s squad that won silver at the Southeast Asian Games and the few remaining senior squad players that Avramovic had not given the axe, to deliver the results expected of him – fairly or not.

The international squad will be next drawn together on November 1 after the close of the Myanmar National League season before travelling to Hong Kong for a friendly on November 7 – a side only a few places higher in the FIFA rankings.

Zeise’s first taste of competitive full international action with Myanmar will be on November 12 in Bucheon, South Korea.

His first target will be a strong result in the joint 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup second round of qualification. While a fourth-place finish has no bearings on the World Cup, a strong fourth-place would see Myanmar qualify directly for the third round of Asian Cup qualification.

The five best fourth-placed teams from the 10 groups progress directly to the 24-team, six-group round-robin competition of the Asian Cup Third Round Qualification. Reaching that stage would guarantee this young squad a series of tough games that will at least allow this group of players to improve as a unit.

Both Avramovic and Zeise had spoken regularly of the importance of “continuity” by which they meant regular opportunities for Myanmar’s players to engage on the international scene.

But to get that “best fourth-place” position Myanmar will need to take points from their final three games: South Korea, Lebanon and the team that delivered the 9-0 thrashing of the White Angels that first put Avramovic’s head on the chopping block.

Assistant-coach Magwe FC’s Kyi Lin – who led the U23s to their 2015 SEA Games silver – will remain in his capacity as number two.

On September 20, Singapore newspaper The Straits Times suggested Avramovic – who was Singapore national coach between 2003 and 2013 – may be a surprise candidate for the Malaysian national team job that remains vacant.

Avramovic was appointed in February 2014 with what was initially reported as a one-and-a-half-year contract.

He replaced the sacked Park Sung Hwa who oversaw Myanmar’s embarrassing group-stage exit at the 2013 SEA Games by apparently misunderstanding the rules of progression from the group stages for tied teams.


The statement from thje Myanmar Football Federation attracted hundreds of comments on their Facebook page. Here are a selection:

"It's about time too. He should be removed since Myanmar drew 2-2 with Laos." – Ashin Nandathara

"This is good news. Although I do feel sorry for Mr Avramovic, this change is important so as to not disappoint 50 million Myanmar people. We need a change to arrest the current momentum of Myanmar football. We respect and thank the MFF for daring to make the change." – Sar Ywet Phyu

"He took three months salary for free but thanks U Zaw Zaw." – Aung Min Thein

"It's not so good to depend on foreigners. So search for a qualified Myanmar coach as soon as possible." – Ko Kyaw

"It is not enough to assign Gerd Zeisee, please hire a German lady to give physio. If you do, our players will be heartened and their injuries will heal quickly." – Phone Thant

"German coach, please send Myanmar to a golden age of football. The U20s could play as you guided, our team will be perfect with you. Our team and U Kyi Lwin." – Bunny Yuki

"The coach is changed but we can't be assure 100 percent [of success]. It is necessary to change some players. Even if the coach is good, we can't get success if the players are not good enough. Old players are needed to be retired and new players should be used." – Yin Whet Pan

"I welcome the [new] coach and thank to MFF for its decision. I believe that Myanmar will one day see success under the guidance of the [new] coach. And I also hope that we can see more smiling face of U Zaw Zaw [MFF President]." – Thant Zin

"It is a right decision to remove Avramovic. I'd like the players to be controlled with strict rules. Many players are enjoying nights out and having alcohol." – Lu Pyo Gyi

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