Yangon Utd Striker Kyaw KoKo Leads Myanmar Football
A young footballer emerged in Myanmar and has created a new wave of football evolution in the name of Kyaw Ko Ko. The Yangon United & Myanmar International striker has the pace and mentality to
A young footballer emerged in Myanmar and has created a new wave of football evolution in the name of Kyaw Ko Ko. The Yangon United & Myanmar International striker has the pace and mentality to break the old style of football in the Country and he’s ready to take on the World. So how does he cope with the pressure, what he thinks of the current situation of Myanmar football and who he looks up to for inspiration? The star striker speaks to Junpiter Futbol in Yangon.
JPF: At the current age of just 23 years old, you have been rated as the most promising player in Myanmar. How do you cope with that status?
KKK: I am coping well, I do not feel any stress at all. However, I would like to use this recognition as a form of motivation to do well for Myanmar, especially in the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup campaign.
JPF: You have been scoring consistently since you broke into the scene as early as a 18years old playing for Zeyar Shwe Myay before moving to Yangon United in the Myanmar National League, however we understand that Striker is not your natural position?
KKK: Haha yes, although I play as a Striker in my professional football career, I have always been a Centreback at amateur level!
JPF: You have won the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) Player of the Year Award at the age of just 19 years old. How has that Award help you in your football career?
KKK: Receiving that Award is a great recognition for my hardwork. Of course, more people started to recognize me after that. But then again, that Award also spur me to want to work even harder to achieve more both individually and as well as with my club and country.
JPF: Yangon United has a Collaboration Plan signed with J.League’s Yokohama F.Marinos, do you see yourself playing in Japan in the near future?
KKK: I definitely hope that I can have the opportunity to play overseas, not necessary has to be J.League. Having said that, I am going to work extra hard, giving not just 100%, not 200% but 300% in every training and game.
JPF: You have scored against Singapore in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 at Singapore National Stadium and undoubtedly a constant threat against Singapore again in the International Friendly last month (March 2016), able to share with us your experience playing against Singapore?
KKK: Singapore is a team with great teamwork and there are a couple of really outstanding players like that No-14 (Harris Harun). Then again, personally I think that the level of play between Myanmar and Singapore is not that far apart.
JPF: Myanmar football is certainly on the right track and especially with Myanmar U20 went on to play in the FIFA World Youth Championships in New Zealand last year, that further proven the nation’s progress in the sports. In your own opinion, what are the challenges which are preventing Myanmar football from continue to move forward?
KKK: The lack of football infrastructure in Myanmar is the huge challenge. Currently, Yangon United is the only club in the country which has a training facility. No other club has come close to what we are enjoying at the moment. Without training venue, gymnasium and adequate equipment, youth football development will not be able to function and run properly, let alone forming an elite team to compete at the highest level. Thai Premier League’s Chonburi is a good example of a club with great training facility and an established youth football academy. If Myanmar football can move towards the similar direction as what the Thais are enjoying, give us 5 years, a good 5 years will see Myanmar National League be on par with some of the best ASEAN leagues.
JPF: Able to share with us how do you prepare yourself prior to every match?
KKK: Actually I do not have any specific preparation prior to each match, but because nowadays I have my own personal trainer, I concentrate a lot on my fitness, For diet, I have my “special” noodles before match day!
JPF: What’s your dream?
KKK: I hope to be the best footballer in the history of Myanmar football.
JPF: Prior to our arrival in Myanmar, we were told that you are the Cristiano Ronaldo of Myanmar?
KKK: Haha.. No, very different, Cristiano Ronaldo is way too good. I do not have an answer for your question but with respect to Cristiano Ronaldo, my favourite player is actually Ronaldinho!
JPF: Able to share some tips with our readers on how to be a good football like you?
KKK: Once I have read an article on Cristiano Ronaldo from a football magazine, he said that if you want to be a striker, you have to work hard. If you want to be a good striker, you have to work extra hard. And if you want to be the best striker, you have to work extra, extra hard.
Thank you Yangon United FC for hosting us. Thank you SingaCup for making this trip possible. Thank you Puma Singapore for the apparels. Thank you Steve Lim (Epilogue) for the Images.