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Kanbawza FC returns to Rangoon

View overlooking Taunggyi, capital of Shan State, eastern Burma. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Kanbawza Football Club will relocate from Taunggyi, Shan State to Rangoon for the next season of the Myanmar [Burma] National League. The franchise originated in Rangoon, in the days before the creation of the Myanmar National League allowed for clubs to be established outside of the former capital.

Kanbawza is set to abandon its current home ground, Taunggyi Stadium, which it had previously leased from the Shan State government under a 30-year contract signed in 2011. The club had sponsored extensive renovation work and upgrades to the stadium during their stay.

“The Myanmar Football Federation will assign us a new ground – we are looking to base in Rangoon,” said the club’s manager Khin Maung Latt.

While one may imagine that Taunggyi locals would be sad to see their team move on, local footballer Khun Kyaw Zin Htun is looking forward to taking advantage of the playing space.

“It’s good to have the stadium back,” said Khun Kyaw Zin Htun, a local resident of Taunggyi.

“As it was being used by the club, we had to go and play football at the army-owned field or the ground in Shwe Nyaung [Township].”

Burmese football has undergone vast changes in a short period of time, as government and private investment has strengthened domestic competition. Business tycoon Tay Za, whose interests include Htoo Group and Air Bagan, is the owner of Yangon FC, a traditional powerhouse in the Myanmar National League that has also enjoyed success on a continental level.

The Burmese national team has also profited from the stability within the Burmese league and saw notable success at home during the Southeast Asian games in December 2013.

Kanbawza FC hopes that their move to Rangoon is an auspicious one, as they look to compete in a strengthening Myanmar National League.