Myanmar vs. India AFC Football at the Thuwanna

AFC Football Myanmar vs. India

Yangon’s Thuwanna Stadium played host to the FIFA AFC Football Qualifier between the White Angels and the Blue Tigers

The 2017 FIFA AFC Football Asian Cup Qualifier match between Myanmar and India was played on March 28th at the Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon and ended in a 1-0 result for the visiting team.

For all the high-resolution photos from the Thuwanna Stadium: Click Here

AFC Football

“Mate, wanna go see the Myanmar vs. India Football game? March 28th and tickets should be cheap.” Sounds good to me hey. For 3,000 Myanmar Kyat (roughly $2.50 USD), you can sit in an open-seating area near the pitch which honestly, you really can’t beat. I won’t go too deep into the details of the match (you can catch all the highlights here), but as you can imagine from two teams ranked quite low on the FIFA Rankings there were many easy chances missed for both teams albeit with several spurts of decent play. India took the win 1-0 at the end with a goal in the last five minutes. I’m going to focus on the stadium and experience, but if you want to see all the pics in high resolution check out the Facebook album here.

The Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon is the premier multi-function stadium in Myanmar. I know that might not be saying much given the state of stadiums in the country but it is everything you need for a sports event and literally nothing more. No concessions, limited signs (and those that exist are in Burmese) and chairs which range from affixed plastic shells on concrete to bare concrete steps. I felt like the VIP box seats might be worth a few extra Kyat, but no… no a/c in the VIP. Fine by me, I like to be a ‘man of the people.’ What I didn’t realize was that myself and a mate would be two of the handful of foreigners in the entire stadium.

A couple of Israelis Abroad

First things first – the kit. Upon hopping out of the cab, we drew looks from everyone around wondering why two foreigners (read: white guys) would be at the AFC football. Not wanting to stand out and, of course, being railroaded by a couple old ladies with obviously ‘official’ gear, we picked up two Myanmar football headbands for 500 Kyat each ($0.35) and upon entering the stadium, two official kits for 9,000 Kyat each ($7.00). Not bad compared to the Euro kits which run from $100 USD and up. Each step of the way we were stopped for selfies by locals who loved our outfits and the fact that we showed up to the match. Two Israelis and 32,000 of our newest and closest friends.

Once we found our gate (which of course was any gate they let us in), we made our way to some primo seats thanks to the open seating setup. I caught several people taking our photos and you know, when in Myanmar you just get used to that sort of thing. One of the awesome things about the Myanmar people is that they are the politest fans I’ve ever seen. They smile the whole game, sing and chant for their team and never boo or curse the team even if they miss a sitter or when they gave up the winning goal at the death. Really a great experience vs. western fans who curse as a matter of commentary.

And… free scarfs for the diehard fans. We were able to get some as well.
Not a bad seat for about $2.50

 

Night falling on the Thuwanna

The 18:00 kickoff saw night fall in the second half and after the final whistle, fans started pouring out of the stadium en masse. We got out and started heading towards the main road when I spotted a gap in the surrounding fence and a clear path to the field. About 10 minutes after the whistle the path was empty and we headed towards the field. Perhaps they thought we were FIFA officials or something but no one batted an eye. So to the field we went!

Myanmar’s #1 Ultra Fan
View from the penalty

All in all, a great experience at the Thuwanna Stadium and for the price, absolutely worth it. If you happen to be traveling through Myanmar and find out there is a match to take in, definitely make the effort and of course, if you can make it on to the field don’t skip the opportunity!

For all the high-resolution photos from the Thuwanna Stadium: Click Here