The handsome logo at right belongs to Zeya Shwe Myay FC, one of eight teams that will soon compete in Burma’s National League Cup, the nation’s first-ever professional soccer league. Matches kick off this coming Saturday, with the early money on Mandalay’s Yadanarpon FC as the prohibitive favorite; the team is owned by a drinking-water mogul whose lavished a relative fortune on five African players.
Microkhan will be a proud Zeya Shwe Myay supporter because the team reps Sagaing Division, where much of Now the Hell Will Start is set. But we’ll also confess to being a bit creeped out by this entire athletic enterprise, especially in light of The Irrawaddy‘s claim that it’s part of the ruling junta’s bread-and-circuses strategy to win next year’s elections. (We also wonder about the provenance of the owners’ fortunes, given that Burma’s economy appears to be one big cronyist racket.)
More on the forthcoming elections here; even thought the outcome will likely be rigged, the opposition National League for Democracy is still debating whether or not to boycott the process.