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Southeast Asia’s two challengers for the Best Footballer in Asia 2019

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The
Best
Footballer
in
Asia
2019
will
soon
be
awarded
to
the
continent’s
standout
individual
over
the
past
12
months
with
Southeast
Asia
boasting
two
contenders.

And
few
would
argue
that
Vietnam’s
talismanic
playmaker
Nguyen
Quang
Hai
and
Thailand’s
history-making
left-back
Theerathon
Bunmathan
have
not
been
the
region’s
most-impressive
duo
in
2019.

Having
rose
to
prominence
in
2018
following
his
exploits
on
the
international
stage

starring
at
the
AFC
U-23
Championship,
Asian
Games
and
AFF
Suzuki
Cup

Quang
Hai
turned
it
up
a
notch
this
year
for
both
club
and
country.

AFC
Asian
Cup
2019:
Vietnam
1-0
Yemen

Nguyen
Quang
Hai
(39′)

Still
only
22,
the
left-footed
maestro
was
part
of
the
Vietnam
side
that
made
waves
by
reaching
the
quarter-finals
of
the
AFC
Asian
Cup
back
in
January,
netting
a
stunner
to
open
the
scoring
in
a
2-0
win
over
Yemen
that
sealed
progress
from
the
group
stage
and
impressing
against
some
formidable
opposition.

Quang
Hai
then
turned
his
attentions
to
domestic
and
continental
football
as
Hanoi
FC
cruised
to
the
V.League
1
title,
and
also
accomplished
an
unprecedented
feat
in
the
AFC
Cup
by
becoming
the
first
ASEAN
Zone
outfit
to
reach
the
inter-zone
playoff
final.

Deployed
in
a
more-withdrawn
role
and
effectively
playing
as
a
central
midfielder,
he
continued
to
impact
matches
as
a
creative
influence
and
netted
a
total
of
ten
goals
across
both
competitions,
memorably
producing
a
match-winning
display
in
a
3-2
win
over
Altyn
Asyr
in
the
AFC
Cup
inter-zone
semi-finals.

There
is
no
doubt
that
Quang
Hai
is
now
one
of
the
hottest
youngsters
across
the
continent,
but
Southeast
Asia’s
other
contender
for
the
BFA
2019
crown
is
a
more-experienced
stalwart
who
is
finally
getting
the
recognition
he
deserves.

As
a
rampaging
left-back
who
really
rose
to
prominence
at
Buriram
United
before
moving
to
fellow
Thai
League
1
giants
Muangthong
United,
Theerathon
has
been
one
of
the
standouts
in
Thai
football
for
almost
a
decade
now
but
was
perhaps
less
recognisable
to
a
wider
Asian
audience.

That
changed
last
year
when
he
finally
earned
a
move
abroad
at
the
age
of
27,
as
he
moved
to
Japan
and
initially
rubbed
shoulders
with
world-class
players
like
Andres
Iniesta
and
Lukas
Podolski
at
Vissel
Kobe.

His
excellent
one-on-one
defending
and
ability
from
set-pieces
then
convinced
Yokohama
F.
Marinos
to
secure
his
services
for
2019
and
he
featured
regularly
as
his
side
were
crowned
champions
of
Japan
for
the
first
time
in
15
years,
becoming
the
first
Thai
to
ever
win
the
J.League
in
the
process.

On
the
international
stage,
Theerathon
was
also
a
key
player
for
Thailand
as
they
overcame
a
shock
4-1
loss
to
India
in
their
tournament
opener
to
reach
the
Round
of
16
at
the
Asian
Cup,
where
they
ultimately
fell
to
China
PR.

Despite
the
outstanding
year
both
have
had,
it
will
probably
take
something
special
for
either
Quang
Hai
or
Theerathon
to
challenge
for
top
honours
in
BFA
2019,
especially
when
they
are
coming
up
against
the
likes
of
Son
Heung-min,
Yuya
Osako
and
Akram
Afif.

Nonetheless,
the
fact
that
they
can
be
mentioned
in
the
same
breath
as
these
European-based
stars
of
Asia
for
their
performances
in
2019
highlights
how
Southeast
Asia
is
slowly
but
surely
closing
the
gap
between
them
and
the
continent’s
elite.

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Asia

Cambodia suspend all football tournaments across country to combat COVID-19

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on

Cambodia has become the latest country in Southeast Asia to suspend all footballing activities including the 2020 Cambodian League season due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Several countries from ASEAN including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines have suspended their domestic leagues in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus while countries like Singapore and Myanmar had decided to play behind closed doors.

Cambodia were the only country to have their domestic league running in full steam in the midst of the global pandemic, but they have now decided to suspend all tournaments until further notice.

“The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) inform the public that in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the FFC have decided to postpone the 14th Hun Sen Cup, Metfone Cambodian League 2020 and the U-16 National Championship, U-18 National Championship and the delay of the 2020 General Assembly of the Football Federation of Cambodia until further notice,” the FFC said.

The 2020 season of the Cambodian League has already completed five rounds of matches with Phnom Penh Crown FC leading the table with 13 points. Defending champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC also have the same number of points, but are second on goal difference.

The Hun Sen Cup, meanwhile, is the country’s domestic cup competition that is split into two stages. The provincial stage featuring clubs from the lower division was held in February, but the national stage during which the top division clubs were to join the competition now stands suspended.

(Photo credit: Visakha FC)

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Former Myanmar national team captain Yan Aung Kyaw to retire at the end of 2020 season

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Yangon United and Myanmar veteran midfielder Yan Aung Kyaw has announced that he will retire from professional football the end of the 2020 season. 

A former captain of the Myanmar national team, Aung Kyaw made his debut for the Asian Lions in 2011 and has won over 60 international caps for the Southeast Asian nation during his career.

He also won a bronze medal for Myanmar at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games while also winning five domestic league titles and three General Aung San Shields with Yangon, the club he has represented since its formation in 2009 along with the Myanmar National League (MNL).

“I previously spoke about my future and mentioned that I will not play for another MNL club against my team Yangon United and another reason is my age. Although I could play one or two more years, I don’t want to play for another club after my contract with Yangon ends in December,” he told Myanmar Times.

Aung Kyaw also hinted that he will move into coaching after retirement and that Yangon United has offered him the opportunity to work at the club.

“I want to thank to my team president and all the team’s staff including my teammates. They supported me very well and the team has been very good to me. Of course the fans have also always been supportive,” Aung Kyaw added.

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Stephanie Catley scores winner as Melbourne City edge Sydney FC 1-0 in W-League Grand Final

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Melbourne City FC edged Sydney 1-0 in the 2019-20 W-League Grand Final at the AAMI Park in Melbourne to claim their fourth domestic championship title in five years. 

Wing-back Stephanie Catley scored the only goal of the game in the 15th minute through the hands of goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to defeat last season’s winners Sydney in the Grand Final which was held without the involvement of spectators to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melbourne City had qualified for the Finals series by finishing top of the 2019-20 W-League regular season with 34 points from 12 matches while Sydney FC had finished third with 22 points.

Melbourne Victory had finished second in the regular season with 23 points while Western Sydney Wanderers took the fourth and final slot in the knockout stages by collecting 22 points.

In the semifinals that were also played behind closed doors, Sydney had edged Victory 1-0 to qualify for the Grand Final while Melbourne City had thrashed Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1.

Melbourne City had won the W-League Grand Finals in three consecutive season starting 2015-16 before Sydney emerged victorious last season by defeating Perth Glory 4-2.

(Photo credit: Melbourne City FC)

Read more: A-League, the show goes on but complaints about quarantine

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