TMCC Match 2 Preview: Yangon United FC
Yangon United FC head into their Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2015 opener after a solid season saw the side capture the 2015 Myanmar National League with an eight-point cushion over their closest challengers in second-place.
The club, dubbed The Lions and formed only in 2009, clinched their fourth Myanmar National League title in their short existence, regaining the trophy from perennial rivals Yadanarbon FC, who had finished ahead of Yangon United FC the previous season. Yangon United FC were unchallenged between 2011 and 2013, a period in which they won the league in three consecutive seasons. Yan Aung Kyaw, midfielder for both Yangon United FC and the Myanmar national team was proud of the young club’s achievements. “Four titles is not many, but it is impressive considering our league only began in 2009.” He said.
The club are currently helmed by Brazilian former Timor-Leste coach Emerson Alcantara, although the bulk of the 2015 season saw Miodrag Jesic lead the club towards the championship. The Serb’s tenure was cut short in September after his contract was terminated by mutual consent, as he departed for Bosnia and Herzogovina to manage FK Sarajevo.
Four of Yangon’s Myanmar-born players started in their recent 2018 World Cup qualifier against Asean rivals Laos, as they grabbed their first victory of their qualification campaign. Captained by Khin Maung Lwin, who along with Zaw Min Tun gave the side much needed stability at the back. Yan Aung Kyaw is a regular in midfield, while fan-favourite Kyaw Ko Ko leads The White Angels in attack.
Yangon United FC however, also have much to thank for their investment in a trio of Brazilian stars. The triumvirate of goalkeeper Luiz Fernando, midfield enforcer Emerson Guara and strike sensation Cezar Augusto have been integral to the clubs rise as Myanmar’s most feared club side. Luiz Fernando’s performances between the sticks saw the former Corinthians youngster christened ‘The Great Wall’. Emerson meanwhile, was integral to the team by laying off 11 assists for his teammates, as well as 6 goals of his own in a fine season.
However, the headlines belonged to goal-machine Cezar, who notched up 28-league goals in a stellar season which saw him also grab a third consecutive Golden Boot award. He had earlier in the season grabbed his 100th goal in all competitions and ended his season with 4 in the final league game against Chin United.
The Brazilian thanked the hard work of his teammates and former coach for contributing to a successful season, and welcomed the challenge of the clubs contesting the TMCC 2015. “In my opinion what has become easy in this league, was the commitment of the players who kept focus and concentration, along with the work of our coach Miodrag Jesic.” He said. “I have already played against big clubs from Southeast Asia as well as Hong Kong and India. I am prepared to face them.” He warned.
Yangon United FC will host Lao Toyota FC for the second game of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2015 at 4 pm on Sunday, November 22. The match will be played at the 32,000 capacity Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.