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AFC Cup: Rivals’ watch - Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

Amoy Ghoshal

Pune FC begin their first-ever AFC Cup campaign with a home match against Nay Pyi Taw Football Club on Wednesday. Sportskeeda profiles last season’s Myanmar National League runners-up.

History

Photo Credit: Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

Photo Credit: Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

The club was only formed in 2010 and initially based in Yangon but in 2011 it relocated to Myanmar’s capital city of Nay Pyi Taw. The newly-formed Myanmar National League (MNL) was launched in 2009 and Nay Pyi Taw FC was included directly in 2010 with the league expanded from eight to 11 teams. They finished tenth in their first season and were runners-up in the MFF Cup in 2011. Nay Pyi Taw FC were sixth and seventh respectively in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the MNL. So it was a huge surprise when they finished runners-up last year behind Yangon United.

With the MFF Cup getting cancelled, Nay Pyi Taw were awarded a berth in the AFC Cup 2014 group stage along with league champions Yangon United. Therefore like Pune, Nay Pyi Taw FC will be making their debut in an Asian competition this time and they incredibly managed to do it within four years of their foundation. In 2011 they renovated the Paung Laung Stadium, which is their home venue now and its capacity is 15,000.

Current Team

Photo Credit: Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

Photo Credit: Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

Former Myanmar international Myo Hlaing Win is their head coach and the team has a good blend of local and foreign talent. Since it is their debut appearance in the AFC Cup, Nay Pyi Taw will depend heavily on their foreigners. South Korean midfielder Jung has been retained from last season while the three new foreigners are Nigerian central defender Obadin Aikhena, Argentinean midfielder Delgado Carlos Alberto and Italian striker Michele Di Piedi, who is a former Fiorentina youth player and also had a spell at Sheffield Wednesday. They finished seven points behind Yangon United last season but were in title contention until the final two rounds of the campaign.

Nay Pyi Taw have made a very good start to the 2014 MNL, having won three of their four matches so far including a 2-1 victory over Manaw Myay. Their season effectively started this month so it would be interesting to see how sharp they are against Pune FC. Nay Pyi Taw are outsiders in this group but a good result away at Pune could give them confidence for the rest of the campaign. They will have to be more disciplined though as the club were fined with players and members of the coaching staff serving suspensions following a series of brawls during a match with Yangon United last year.

Key Players

Obadin Aikhena

The Nigerian last played for Singapore’s S-League club Balestier Khalsa and has already settled well in Myanmar football. Aikhena will have to play an important role in defence but would also look to be a threat from set-pieces at the other end.

Aung Kyaw Naing

He is one of the most key local players of Nay Pyi Taw as he has the ability to perform in important matches. Naing is a goal-scoring midfielder and netted in the win over Zwekapin United this season.

Michele Di Piedi

Di Piedi (no.17) Photo Credit: Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

Di Piedi (no.17)Photo Credit: Nay Pyi Taw Football Club

The Italian striker is 33 now but like Pune’s Riga Mustapha, is highly capable of making a big impact at AFC Cup level. Di Piedi has made a fantastic start to his Nay Pyi Taw career, scoring in the first three league fixtures.


Edited by Staff Editor

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