By OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER
YANGON – English championship football team Leeds United have announced they will travel to Myanmar to take part in two friendly matches next month.
According to a post on the club’s Facebook page, Leeds will take part in the AYA Bank Tour 2018. Their first match will be against a Myanmar National League All Star Team at Yangon’s Thuwunna Stadium on May 9, followed by a game against the Myanmar National Team at Mandalar Thiri Stadium, Mandalay, on May 11.
“This tour gives us an opportunity to meet new fans of football who will hopefully support our journey back to the Premier League in the coming years,” said Leeds United managing director Angus Kinnear. “From a football perspective we welcome the opportunity for our players who have not featured much in the past six months due to injuries the chance to continue their rehabilitation.”
U Ko Ko Thein, general secretary of the Myanmar Football Federation, said the trip was an “important milestone” for the development of football in the country.
“Myanmar is a football-mad country and this tour will help us to showcase our passion for the game abroad,” he said.
During their visit, Leeds United staff will conduct football clinics at the MFF academies in Yangon and Mandalay, and will also visit cultural sites including the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and Mandalay’s Maha Myat Muni Pagoda.
The last high profile football team to travel to Myanmar was Leicester City, who visited the Shwedagon Pagoda in May 2016 shortly after they were crowned English Premier League champions.
Leeds United are currently placed 12th in the Championship, with two games remaining, and are managed by Englishman Paul Heckingbottom.