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Oldest football club faces permanent relegation; Sports roundup

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Oldest football club faces permanent relegation; Sports roundup | The Thaiger
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World waiting for Real v Man United clash, says Mourinho
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Real Madrid manager José Mourinho ran the rule over Manchester United yesterday before declaring that Wednesday’s Champions League clash between the sides was “the match the world is waiting for”.

The last 16 first-leg game at the Bernabeu pits old adversaries Mourinho and Alex Ferguson head to head and Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo faces his former club.

The plot-lines are rich and Mourinho, who once famously danced a jig of joy along the Old Trafford touchline when his Porto side got the better of United, seemed genuinely excited to be part of the showpiece occasion.

“We have to feel very privileged to play this match,” Mourinho, who sat in the directors’ box as United opened up a 12-point lead in the Premier League with victory over Everton, told MUTV.

“People think we’re under pressure because one of the big teams will soon be out of the biggest competition.

“But Real Madrid and Manchester United staff, as well as the players, feel privileged. It’s the kind of match you want to play and we have to prepare as best we can.

“It’s such a big match,” added the Portuguese. “Everybody wants to play. Nobody will be tired. It’s a match the world is waiting for. They are not waiting for other matches in the Champions League. So I hope we can give the world of football what they’re waiting for.”

Ferguson has rarely got the better of Mourinho, winning just two of the matches when they have sat in opposing dugouts, but clearly has plenty of time for the former Chelsea manager.

“I had a chat with Jose before the game, he was in good form,” Ferguson said. “We’re both looking forward to the game on Wednesday. It’ll be terrific.”

Giggs taking nothing for granted after 21st vintage goal
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: With 12 English league titles and 929 appearances for Manchester United under his belt, Ryan Giggs knows a thing or two about what is required in the closing stages of a season.

That explained the 39-year-old’s steely calm after helping his side open up a 12-point gap over Manchester City in the Premier League yesterday with a 2-0 home win over Everton.

The evergreen 39-year-old Welshman’s goal meant he has now scored in each of the 21 seasons since the Premier League began and such was his contribution that there seems no reason why he will not play into his fifth decade.

First, however, there is United’s 20th title to clinch and after watching City steal it in the final seconds of last season, there is an extra determination to make sure the crown is returned to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet.

United have won 12 of their last 14 games in the Premier League, drawing the other two, and they look unstoppable.

“We’ve been in really good form and we’ve got players on the bench or not even getting on the bench who would walk into any other team,” Giggs told Sky Sports.

“The squad we’ve got at the moment is really strong and we’ve got to keep that up until the end of the season.

“We’ve got enough experience in the squad but you never take anything for granted. We’ve just got to keep playing well.

“The strength of the squad should see us there if everyone stays fit. But you never know what happens. You’ve just got to concentrate and do our job.”

Stunning goal ends Nigeria’s long wait for African crown
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Nigeria ended a 19-year wait to regain the African Nations Cup after a stunning goal from winger Sunday Mba gave them a deserved 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the final at Soccer City.

The 24-year-old, who also scored the winner in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Ivory Coast, struck after 40 minutes when the ball bounced off a defender and into his path as he advanced on goal.

Mba flicked it over defender Mohamed Koffi then reacted quickest to score with his other foot low into the corner of goalkeeper Daouda Diakite’s net for a contender for goal of the tournament.

Underdogs Burkina Faso, in the final for the first time, seemed over-awed by the occasion, which was played out in front of a near 90,000 capacity crowd, until the last 20 minutes when they threw everything forward in search of an equaliser.

But Nigeria with John Obi Mikel superb in midfield and Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile dominant at the back always held the upper hand.

The victory meant Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi became only the second man to win the tournament as player and coach. It was a third African title for Nigeria and their first since Keshi captained them to victory in 1994.

Blatter angry with UEFA over declaration on FIFA reforms
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: FIFA president Sepp Blatter took a swipe at European governing body UEFA yesterday for what he said were attempts to block his reform process to make soccer’s governing body more transparent and less prone to corruption.

Blatter said he was surprised that UEFA, headed by Michel Platini who is a possible rival for the FIFA presidency in two years’ time, had declared itself against key proposals from FIFA’s reform working party the Independent Governance Committee (IGC).

UEFA, in a declaration last month, rejected a proposal to limit FIFA executive committee members to two four-year mandates and called for the FIFA president to serve a maximum of 12 years instead of the eight put forward by the IGC.

Blatter, who was in South Africa for the African Nations Cup final, said it was UEFA’s job to consult their national associations, not to issue their own declaration on the proposals.

“The reform process is on the way to conclusion,” he told a media round-table meeting. “Two parts have been implemented by Congress: the establishment of an independent ethics committee and the fact Congress and not the executive committee will choose future World Cup hosts.

“Now there are 10 or 11 other points that have to be dealt with by the next FIFA Congress in Mauritius in May. So I’m surprised by the reaction of UEFA, because the executive committee told the confederations they should consult their national associations about the reforms and what they think about the last part of the amendments to the statutes.

“And I’m surprised because it did not seem like a consultation, it seemed like was decision-making from UEFA where the national associations have signed a declaration against this.

“The idea was that at the FIFA Congress, all national associations have the right to speak on the amendments in favour or against. We have asked the confederations to make consultations, we have not asked them to make decisions.

“If all the Confederations make decisions, what is the point of the FIFA Congress?”

Blatter was also angry that UEFA appeared to take a stand against security checks FIFA wants to introduce for anyone being elected to the executive committee, following a series of high-profile scandals involving FIFA officials.

“What is important to me, and I will defend it, is that all members of FIFA shall have a scrutiny check, because everyone working somewhere has one. All the referees and linesmen on the FIFA list have to have one and sign a document which is recognised by their national association.

“So if it is good enough for FIFA r

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Marina Krasnopolska

WARNING! Content below contains photos of self-mutilation that some may find disturbing.

The flags on Go Teng poles were lowered on Monday, ending Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival and symbolising that the spirits have returned the heavens. The flags are raised at the start of the festivities each year at participating shrines, calling on the spirits to descend from the heavens.

This year, 2 men were electrocuted while taking down the festival flags. A steel pole with the flag touched a power pole, electrocuting and burning the workers as they were trying to lower the flags. They were taken to the hospital.

During the festival’s street processions and ceremonies so-called “mah songs” channel the descended spirits. They enter a trance-like state and many practice self-mutilation to channel the spirits. “Mah” means horse in Thai, and some say the mah song acts as a horse for the spirit to ride.

Some mah song pierce their cheeks and other parts of their body with steel spikes and sometimes swords or other bizarre choices (we’ve seen petrol pumps, javelins, samurai swords and kitchen utensils). During the street procession, they walk for hours with the self-inflicted piercings, seemingly posessed by ‘spirits’ and muttering all sort of strange chants, verging on mild cases of Tourette syndrome. A team of devotees for each mah song wipe away blood and keep the wounds clean. Some mah songs even slice their tongue for the street procession. Blood drips on their chest and the ground. Waiting bystanders line the streets hoping for the blessing of a passing mah song. Some mah songs carry a black flag.

The event is an annual spiritual ‘cleansing’ for those in watching the processions. Onlookers lining the street bow their heads and place their hands in the “wai” position as the mah song waves flags and banners over their heads. Businesses along the procession route often set up an altar outside their shop and mah songs stop at each one to do a short ritual.

The Phuket government gave the festival organisers the “okay” to hold this years event with hopes that it would increase domestic tourism and generate much-needed revenue after the Thai government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic crippled Phuket’s tourist economy. Before this year’s festival, Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana asked that the mah songs “limit the level of torturing.” He also called for a limit on the number of people at ceremonies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

His calls were largely ignored.

The spirits will again return in 2021 to Phuket again cleanse the island’s large Thai-Chinese community.

Photos of the 2020 Vegetarian Festival by Marina Krasnopolska.

Phuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The ThaigerPhuket's annual Vegetarian Festival lowers flags, spirits return to the heavens | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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