I don’t know about you girls but when guys meet, one of the very first questions we ask each other is:
“Do you like football?”
If yes, enter several follow-up questions starting with:
“Which team do you support?”
“Messi or Ronaldo?”
“Do you play too?”
“FIFA or PES?” etc
Yeah, Football (aka soccer in weird part of the world) is kind of a big deal for us.
Let me mansplain to you a bit about typical football fans from Myanmar.
One may have at least two favorite football teams; a club team & a national team. Tournaments for national teams only happen once every two years while club football plays almost every week so it is much more popular among fans. There are several leagues around the world but only four of those really matter and they are:
- English Premier League
- Spanish Laliga
- Italian Serie-A
- German Bundesliga
That’s right. We don’t talk about anything-else; J-League, K-League or whatever league they call themselves in those footbally-struggling countries. Well, except in some cases where you owe so much money at online betting and desperately start looking for an i-need-this-one-otherwise-i-am-gonna-have-to-sell-my-kidney match.
Anyway, the above list was made according to the popularity among global fans. It is pretty much the same in Myanmar where most of us prefer watching English Premier League to other leagues. The fact that British people colonized our country not so many Centuries ago does not necessarily have to do anything with popularity of their football league in Myanmar today because the league itself is truly entertaining. World Class players, speed of the game, video technology and level of discipline put the league on top. There are twenty teams competing in Premier League every season and so called “Big Five” (Man City, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool & Arsenal) or six (if you count Spurs) usually finish top places. Normally, average football fan has one favorite team from those big teams.
Fun Fact: in club leagues if a game ends in draw, each team earns a point and does not go to extra times & penalties. So, don’t shout “Penalties” at every freaking draw.
In Spain, all we care about is Real Madrid, Barcelona, Messi and Ronaldo. As a football fan, you are either with Madrid & Ronaldo or with Barcelona & Messi. Can’t have both. In other leagues such as Serie-A and Bundesliga, you don’t care much about the teams anymore and most of the time you are watching these games because English league and Spanish League are not playing.
And then there is this tournament called “Champions League” where only the elite teams of the European Leagues can participate. Most of the Champions League games play at midnight and it is just the best time to watch football.
Fun Fact: If a player is wearing No.99 Jersey, it does not mean they have 99 players. It is just one stupid guy who can’t pick a proper number.
Right, so there are so many things for fellow fans to talk about football and we never run out of topics. Between same fans, it is important to talk about latest team’s form, results and upcoming necessary changes or we can talk about glory good old days and how bad we miss former captain. With a different club’s fan, we can discuss recent games, coming games, key players from each team or retell hit news from football world. And then, there are games. Popular football games such as FIFA, PES, Winning Eleven are mostly played with Play Stations, Xbox etc. Newly updated versions of those games are released every year and it’s where we burn our cash. So, you get it. We just never run out of topics to talk about.
To wrap up, it is almost tempting to say that people are born with favorite football teams marked on their hearts because you can’t really find a certain reason “why”. Some people like Man United because red is their favorite color while some people like Liverpool because Liverpool’s red is their favorite red. There might be a few exceptions but it is rare to see fans that just follow success and money no matter how much these factors may affect a player. When you have your favorite team, you can’t just change it. It’s a mental tattoo. So, what can you do, right? Just sit back and talk about that football we all love.
Zwe Oak Soe