Myanmar to hold cyclone charity match

Myanmar's national football team will play a Southeast Asian select XI in a charity match to raise money for cyclone victims, state media said on Wednesday.

Myanmar football chief Zaw Zaw discussed the match at a meeting of the ASEAN Football Federation in Malaysia, and the other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed, the official Myanma Ahlin newspaper said. The match will be held in Yangon in October with details to be confirmed later this month, the paper said.

Cyclone Nargis left more than 138,000 dead or missing when it struck Myanmar two months ago, wiping out entire villages as it plowed across the Irrawaddy Delta. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has agreed to donate 250,000 dollars to rebuild damaged sports venues, while the ASEAN Football Federation will donate 50,000 dollars, the paper said.

People in Myanmar have responded to the cyclone with an outpouring of charitable donations, with grassroots organisations springing up to deliver aid to regions international aid workers have struggled to reach.

Buddhist monks have also turned monasteries into important centres of emergency housing, food distribution and other supplies. However, the regime, much criticised for its response to the disaster, has arrested several prominent volunteers leading this movement including the country's most famous comedian, Zaganar.

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.