The 2013 Myanmar National League (MNL) got underway on January 5 but is two clubs fewer than last year after the relegations of 2012’s last place finishers.
Chin United FC and Mawrawadi FC found themselves at the bottom of last year’s standings and were cast off to a yet to be formed second tier league. Twelve teams will compete for this year’s championship.
In Yangon Zeyar Shwe Myay FC beat 1-0 Hantharwady United at Thuwanna Stadium on the season’s opening day.
Zeyar Shwe Myay FC held the edge in ball position during the matches early minutes before turnovers saw them narrowly avoid two shots from within their own box hitting the back of the goal.
In the 72nd minute, Zeyar Shwe Myay’s Rankovic Sasa came forward with the ball on the right wing and passed it inside where striker Si Thu Win’s one touch between two defenders produced the match’s lone goal.
Despite the loss Hantharwady United coach U Win Tin was positive in his comments following the match.
“I am satisfied with my players. We wasted sure scoring chances, so we lost,” U Win Tin said.
In a sign of the MNL’s increasingly international make up Zeyar Shwe Myay has three foreign players on its roster while Hantharwady United only has one.
African player Clifford is playing his first season for Hantharwady United, which is surprising given owner U Aung Moe Kyaw’s dislike of African players.
“The African players are making a mess here [in the MNL]. So I only wanted to hire a qualified African for the team and I have been looking for one. As for Clifford, he is a good-quality footballer,” U Aung Moe Kyaw told a press conference at Sedona Hotel on January 5.