- By Tommy Pauk
Rangoon University (Later, known as Rangoon Arts and Sciences University—RASU ) is the birthplace of brilliant Myanmar Football Team and famous footballers. In other words, Rangoon University Sports Council was regarded as the nursery for developing Myanmar football team in Asia Region. The 100th Anniversary of the existence of Yangon University is just around the corner. When we honor Yangon University, we should not merely say about its knowledge- sharing of Arts and Sciences which are of priceless treasures. In addition, we ought to say about Rangoon University’s significant activities of the Sports Council.
Rangoon University was founded in 1920 and higher learning could be pursued by the students those who passed matriculation. Even then they not only studied the major subjects but also do the specific sports as their extra curriculum activities in Rangoon University. The most popular sport was football in those days for boy students. With the encouragement and support of Rangoon University Sports Council (former name), the students of other university and college joined respective sports clubs, doing exercises and participating in the occasional tournaments conducted by state.
Furthermore, Rangoon University football Club had formed University Football Team composed with the students from Rangoon Institute of Technology, Yangon Medical College and Institute of Economics. During the periods of 1960s, Rangoon University Football Team gained the tremendous victory in the local football games like Aung San Shield, League, Round Robin
( 1st division ), Knock-out opening season and Rice-Mill Owner Cup. Despite the football players being amateurs, they could perform their football skills in various matches impressively. The coach and all the players belonged to Universities and Colleges of Rangoon at that time. Saya Nyein was the coach of University Football Team (his designation was University Sports officer of Rangoon University) and he trained the players to become excellent football players. He was the higher caliber of football coach and the pioneer who sowed the seed of the tree of victorious University football team indeed. Even when we look at back to the 1930s, one of varsity blues was a football team which stood as an unbeatable team in the football games such as Dunlop Cup, Walter Locke Cup and Rice -mill Owner Cup held in Rangoon. University football team was notably recorded as a successful or victorious team in those days as well. In 1934, the University Team won the Cup Final held by BAA (Burma Athletics Association).The opponent team was Burma Police which was formed with British Colony Police members whereas University Team was formed with the students of University and college of Burma.
Saya Nyein was a coach who trained the players well. We may regard Saya Nyein as a pioneer of Asia Champion Myanmar National Football team. The players also tried hard to become excellent ones in line with what they were responsible for their proper positions in playing game. Originally, they were amateur players from Rangoon University. Later, they joined football clubs of ministries. In those days in Asia region, Myanmar football team was very popular for its victory and its brilliant players, individual players’ skill and the fair-play-spirit. Due to these significant characteristics, Myanmar National team had won the love of local and Asian football fans.
In the 1960s, Rangoon University Football team won the Aung San Shield Round Robin (First Division) and other football tournaments in Myanmar. Besides Rangoon University Football team, there exist football teams belonged to the respective Ministries and their Departments which participated in Aung San Shield Round Robin (First Division) tourney. The names of the teams were SAMB (State Agricultural Marketing Board), Burma Police, Customs, Post and Telegraph, Municipal, Burma Army, Burma Naval, Burma Air Forces and Burma Railways. Amid all those teams were strong and well-trained, Rangoon University team won over the tourney and stood as a champion team brilliantly. The big round of applause and shouting the phrase “varsity…varsity …Rah…Rah…” had echoed by the fans in the BBA (Burma Athletic Association) ground (later it was changed to name Aung San stadium). The motto of Rangoon University Football team was : “Play fair, play hard ,never quit”. It is learnt that the motto was written by coach Saya Nyein.
In fact, Rangoon University Football club nurtured and cultivated the triumphant Myanmar national Football team to stand in Asia and in South East Asia in which various soccer tournaments were held. In 1966, the Asian Games were held in Bangkok, Thailand. Myanmar national team won victory over Iran in the final match and became a champion team. Two of the Rangoon University Football team players had been selected to Burma National Football team and they tremendously performed well in the various matches. Those two varsity team players were Aung khin (striker) and Soe Myint ( defender ).Significantly, the scorer of the winning goal over Iran in final match was Aung khin. In Bangkok stadium, 1966 Asian Football Game winner and names of Myanmar footballers have honorably been inscribed. We are very proud of our Myanmar football Team because it won tremendous victory over other Asian Football teams through many games in some Asian countries.
The records describe that pre-war varsity famous players of forward combination were Yoke Kwin, Mg Win and Kan Nyunt and post-war varsity famous players of forward combination were Ne Win (the then Myanmar movie star Collegian Ne Win), Kenneth Shein and Tun kyi. Aung Khin, Tin Mg and Saw Oo were famous players in 1960s. The goalkeeper named Judson was the one who had been selected for Myanmar national team (Burma selected) in 1960s.Those famous footballers have served for Rangoon University as well as for Myanmar National Team. They did brighten Myanmar Sports standard involving in football games both in Myanmar and in Asian countries.
Team spirit, national spirit and sporting spirit led Burma National Football Team to become Asia Champion in that era. Essentially, we should honor and archive the University Football Team when we say about the history of Myanmar Football Team‘s victorious matches and tourneys which glorified the country Myanmar and its sports standard. Most of the famous Myanmar sportsmen were born in Yangon University especially the footballers who are famous at home and Asian countries for their
brilliant football skills and performances.
References: Chronical of Myanmar Football