Soccer (Football) in Burma

   Burma's most popular sport, soccer was introduced to the country during the British colonial period, allegedly by James G. Scott, who claimed the Burmese had a talent for it "because they like to fight." In his famous essay "Shooting an Elephant," George Orwell describes the tensions that emerged during games played by European and Burmese teams. During the early Ne Win period, Burma had the strongest team in the Southeast Asia region, winning the Asian Games soccer championship twice. Though the quality of the team later declined, its successes against fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in recent years have stirred national pride. Like Thingyan and popular music, soccer offers occasions for ordinary Burmese to blow off steam. A number of observers have reported that in domestic matches, when a civilian team plays one fielded by the Tatmadaw, there are often lusty cheers for the former and boos for the latter. At present, it is estimated that Burma has 20,000 soccer players, organized into 600 clubs.
   See also Sports, Traditional.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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