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Footballer dies after on-pitch brawl in Taungoo

Brunei's Md Najib Tarif (bottom) and Burma’s Thet Naing chase for the ball during the semi-final of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy for ASEAN Youth Football Tournament 2012 in Bandar Seri Begawan on 7 March 2012. (PHOTO: Reuters)

A 16-year-old footballer named Nyi Nyi Lin Aung died from injuries sustained after being beaten up by opposing players during an under-20s football match in Taungoo.

A brawl between players broke out just 30 minutes into the game when Weidaunk village youth team met rivals Megong on Tuesday at Oak Twin in Taungoo.

The first-half fracas involved a player from Weidaunk who was continually fouling his opponents. After one scathing tackle, two Megong players attacked him, assisted by their team manager and two gardeners who had been watching from the sidelines. Apparently, a district officer from the Sports and Physical Education Department was called in to mediate, but he allowed the game to continue.

Then in the second half, another fight broke out, this time when an unspecified number of Megong players lashed out at Weidaunk’s Nyi Nyi Lin Aung. He was hospitalized with head injuries and a burst bladder, but passed away in a Naypyidaw ward early the following morning, according to Weidaunk football team coordinator Htay Lwin.

The so-called “friendly match” had been co-hosted by the Sports and Physical Education Departments of Oak Twin and Taungoo as a promotion for youth sports in the region.

Oak Twin police have now opened an investigation into the conduct of the Megong village administrator, the team manager and all 11 players. According to deputy station officer Zaw Lwin, the incident is being treated as a murder.