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By Eric Noveanto

In football, success on and off the pitch does not simply come down to talent and tactics, but requires years of meticulous planning. With this in mind, Goal.com presents a statistical and structural evaluation of five top clubs in the South-east Asian region, along with a verdict on why these teams are heads and shoulders above the rest.

In this edition, we take a look at one of the most prestigious clubs in Myanmar, Yangon United.

CLUB HISTORY

Yangon United FC (YUFC) is a Burmese football club based in Yangon, the former capital city of Myanmar. They are owned by Tay Za, a Burmese business tycoon.

YUFC was founded in 2007 when the chairman of Htoo Group Of Companies announced his desire to establish a football club. The company then took over first division club Viva FC, renamed them to Air Bagan FC and competed in the 2007/08 league season.

After the league was transformed to the nation's first professional football league (Myanmar National League), Air Bagan FC was again renamed to Yangon United FC in 2009, and sought to represent the Yangon District and its population of five million.


STADIUM

THUWUNNA STADIUM
Thuwunna Stadium was the previous home ground of Yangon United, but after the Yangon United Sports Complex was completed, the Lions decided to host their home matches there instead. The new YUFC ground consists of an artificial turf football pitch, complete with a 5,000-seater stand and a gymnasium - the first of its kind amongst the Burmese clubs.

YUFC SPORTS COMPLEX
To cater to their foreign players, Yangon United built a two-story apartment complex within the facility. The building also houses the administrative staff of the club. Apart from these great facilities, YUFC also have an official club store located at Alan Pya Pagoda street.


AFFILIATED CLUBS

BEC Tero Sasana
The joint-venture with BEC Tero Sasana FC was also supposed to offer Yangon United's promising youth players the chance to get a trial with Premier League club Arsenal who are affiliated with the Thai club.

 
On August 16 2009, Thailand's BEC Tero Sasana and Yangon United signed a "Strategic Alliance" to work together in strategic and club planning.

BEC Tero Sasana's owner Brian Marcar, is a mix of American and Burmese. He attended St. Paul school in Myanmar.

He said: "It's a good decision for Myanmar to have a professional league as it'll develop the strength of football in the [country]. The sole purpose of Tero Sasana's affiliation with Yangon United is to help develop Myanmar football."

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT


Yangon United Academy is the one of the youth academies established by professional clubs in Myanmar - others include Yadanabon, Ayeyawady United and Nay Pyi Taw FC academy. In 2010, an English-Australian football coach, Andrew Ord, was appointed as the Academy Director who held on to the postion for six months.

The Yangon United youth team has produced several talented players such as Kyi Lin, Kaung Si Thu, David Htan, Si Thu Aung and Pyae Phyo Aung - all of whom became part of the YUFC senior team and the Myanmar national team.

KEY PLAYERS

Kyi Lin
Cezar Augusto
David Htan
An influential player for the two-time Myanmar National League winners, Kyi Lin joined the senior team in 2009. The 20-year-old midfielder has also cemented his spot with the Myanmar national team after his solid performances during the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup. Though he joined Yangon United early last year, the Brazilian-born attacker is already a key player for the Lions. He performed brilliantly in the 2012 MNL campaign, scoring 15 goals in the season to making him the team's top scorer.
The diminutive winger is an important player for the club. The 22-year-old has explosive speed and a good array of passing. The Kachin-born footballer has been capped 11 times for the Myanmar national team.

MANAGEMENT

TAY ZA - CLUB PRESIDENT
The 48-year-old Burmese business tycoon is the owner of Yangon United. His major business interests include Htoo Group and Air Bagan, the country's first and only fully privately owned airline. Tay Za's airline is the main sponsor of YUFC. His son is the chairman of the club.

IVAN VENKO KOLEV - HEAD COACH
The former Bulgarian player has been in charge of the club since early 2012. He successfully led the team to claim the Myanmar National League title in 2012 during his first season with the club. The 55-year-old tactician spent most of his coaching career in South-east Asian. He had coached Indonesian clubs, Persija Jakarta, Mitra Kukar, Persipura Jayapura Sriwijaya FC, and also the Indonesia national team during the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.


GOAL.COM VERDICT

Yangon United embodies professionalism and has undoubtedly become a role model in Myanmar football. Owned by one of the most successful Burmese business tycoons, the Lions have improved their reputation and have become one of the most popular clubs in Myanmar, even though they were only re-established as a professional club four years ago.

They also have a keen interest on the youth developement of their home-grown players after the club opened a youth academy in 2009.  The club's long-term objectives were explained to Goal.com by Thurein Kyaw, a YUFC fan. He said: "Our club's main goal is to compete in AFC competitions and to be able to nuture players for the Myanmar national team."

Commercially, Yangon United are on the right track. They have a great fanbase in Myanmar, and some of them are Burmese celebrities. YUFC also have regular support for their away fixtures - a feat that is rare amongst most MNL clubs.

Stadium OVERALL
Facilities 3.5
Youth System
Club Affiliation
Key Players
Management

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