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Soccer-news on/from Burma

Hi everyone & happy new year

We came across this newspaper article in De Telegraaf of December 19th, 1995.
De Telegraaf is the biggest neswspaper in The Netherlands, though also the 
one cursed-on by everybody who's not reading it as being untrue, full of 
gossip etcetera. However, since it is football-news, we want to share this 
with Burmanet-S (soccer).

Burmese Junta makes all decisions in Myanmar soccerteam

by our correspondent Jos van Noord
(translator's (Gijs) note: I stayed as close to the original in 
phrase-length and choice of words and expressions as possible)

CHIANG MAI, tuesday
Like a lame duck Ger Blok is moving between dressing rooms and dugout. While 
the corporate colonels of Burma's military Junta - in the catacombs of the 
new Asia Games-stadium in the Thai city of Chiang Mai - open their next can 
of beer to celebrate the 1-0 victory over Laos, Blok hisses to the reporter: 
"Congratulation? With what?"

Grinding his teeth: "Talk to the coach, the military-one over there, he 
knows better about eveything!"
Us again: "We thought you are the coach....?"
Ger Blok, pissed of: "I have never really been the coach of this team."

Blok is angry, not to say raging with frustration. During the game he put 
his hand to his head, when not he, but the colonels decided which player 
were to take the penalty-kick. And moreover, Blok was stunned when it was a 
goal too.

Irritated so much that he bends forward, Blok is not permitted to talk to 
the press. Colonel Tun Sein, the extremely un-sportive chef of the mission 
of Burma at the SEA Games, gnarls to the reporter: "I forbid that he speaks 
with you. Is that clear? After the competition you can speak with him as 
much as you want."
Things are clearly not going well any more between Blok and Burma. Two years 
ago he was brought to Burma by the regime to "save Burma's soccer". But some 
time ago he anounced in the Singapore newspaper The Strait Times not to 
continue with Burma again after the SEA-games. Blok: "I have been a coach 
for 32 years. Some young players of the Burma-team are very talented, but 
they do not get a chance to develop completely. That is very disappointing."

Not only Blok is critisizing on Burma: also the reverse is true. With his 
tax-free monthly salary of 6500 US$, to insiders he earns more than a 
hundred times the salary of the players. The 56 year old Blok, pemanently 
residing with his wife in the five-star Inya Lake hotel in Rangoon, with a 
car and chauffeur always at his service, is one of the best paid people in a 
country as poor as a church mouse, and that has - considering the 
achievements of the team - angered quite a few.

Burmas's top-players hardly earn more than a 150 US$ a month.
The plug was pulled when, one motnh before the SEA-games, the Burmese team 
was beat by Bangladesh with 2-1. An official from the Burmese 
soccer-federation then stated: "We pay him so much money, and we can't even 
win from Bangladesh!" Behind the screen, soccer-officials of the Union of 
Myanmar - lately the country's official name - said that "the players would 
perform better if the salary of Blok was devided amongst them."

A frustrated Blok, who, angering the Burmese fans, put the favorite Kyi Lwin 
and Maung Oo on the bench for some time, refuses to react on the 
accusations, and also the colonels and generals, who by custom decide on 
everything in the Burmese military dicatorship, and that in Chiang Mai have 
the players in their grip completely, refuse to speak with the reporter: "To 
the foreign press we have nothing to say."

Blok, suffering from back-aches, has made clear earlier that he was fed-up 
with Burma's military dictators, but in Chiang Mai he does not want to make 
any remarks on it, nor does he want to be photographed during the games.

Only when the remark is made that he has not done a lot to raise a decent 
youth-soccer team, the soccer-trainer, that used to work very much with the 
Dutch youth, explodes: "Nobody in the whole of Burma has worked harder than 
me towards that. I have tried more than my best, but in Burma one is tied 
hand and feet by the bureaucracy," according to Blok, referring to the 
military authorities that often, without any specific knowledge about the 
matter, do exactly what they feel like doing. "It became a very big 


BCN is onafhankelijke stichting. Doel: Nederlandse samenleving informeren 
over Burma. Het initieert en co-ordineert aktiviteiten die democratisering 
en duurzame ontwikkeling bevorderen. Het geeft een positieve bijdrage aan 
een constructieve dialoog tussen de diverse groeperingen. 
visit these sights: