"Star-less" Myanmar feeling confident
Loss of key men Kyaw and Kyi has not dampened Myanmar's hopes
SINGAPORE v MYANMAR
(Tonight, 8.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium, Singtel TV Ch 134, MediaCorp okto)
They lost star attackers Kyaw Ko Ko and Kyi Lin for their South-east Asia (SEA) Games campaign because their services were needed for the senior team for the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
Pre-tournament predictions even suggested that Myanmar U-23 coach U Kyi Lwin's side would struggle without the pair in a Group A pool consisting of Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Cambodia.
But Myanmar proved otherwise, serving up a scintillating 4-2 win over 2013 silver-medallists Indonesia in their first match at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night.
"No issue," Kyi simply shrugged it off, obviously confident in his existing batch of players, with key men Nay Lin Tun, Chit Su Moe and Ye Win Aung leading the pack.
"We have three teams competing in three different tournaments (senior side in the World Cup Qualifiers, U-23s in the SEA Games, and U-20s in the U-20 World Cup).
"You could say that this is not our strongest team but, as we showed against Indonesia, we have the ability.
"So, it's not a big issue."
It was a result that certainly came as a surprise, considering that the Myanmarese exited the 2013 edition at the group stage.
And tonight, with Aide Iskandar's Singapore side lying in wait after a less-than-convincing 1-0 win over the Philippines on Monday, Kyi will be pacing the touchline with confidence.
With skilful midfielder Si Thu Aung set to play a key role once again after his brace against the Indonesians, he will be a real threat.
Kyi was, however, coy when asked about his game plan.
"I watched Singapore's game against the Philippines, and I can tell you that my management, players and I learnt one or two things from that match," said Kyi.
"But, of course, I'm not going to tell you what we'll be doing when we face Singapore. I have no comments.
"We have good players of our own who have what it takes to cause problems for Singapore.
"What I can say is that we are prepared for the match, and we are confident."
But Kyi and his men have one important factor acting against them - fatigue.
Singapore have an extra day's rest over Myanmar, and that could make a difference at Jalan Besar tonight.
Kyi, though, is not bothered.
He said: "It happens at every SEA Games.
"The home nation always have the advantage. It's nothing new.
"For example, I played in the 1993 Games as a player for Myanmar, and it was the same case, so you can't complain.
"It's not a problem for us at all.
"In the end, it's down to us to play well, and fight until the very end."
We are prepared for the match (against Singapore), and we are confident.
— Myanmar coach U Kyi Lwin