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Phuket Gazette Sports: African Nations Cup quarters offers a tasty mix

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Phuket Gazette Sports: African Nations Cup quarters offers a tasty mix | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World sports news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Last eight offer tasty mix at African Nations

Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The right ingredients seem to be in place to make the knockout rounds of the African Nations Cup, which reaches the quarter-finals stage this weekend, a real football feast for fans a little short-changed by the group games.

Hosts South Africa have survived, so have the tournament favourites Ivory Coast, the fairytale underdogs from the Cape Verde Islands, the unexpected wildcards Togo and Burkina Faso along with traditional powerhouses Ghana, Nigeria and Mali.

All that is needed now after a stop-start group phase is more quality on the field, more goals and more fans.

The remaining teams look easily capable of raising the profile of the tournament with eight matches still to be played including the final in Soccer City on February 10.

This weekend’s four games begin in Port Elizabeth on Saturday (10:00 p.m. Phuket time) where outsiders Cape Verde Islands take on a strong-looking Ghana team, seeking their fifth continental title, but their first since 1982.

The attention then switches to hosts South Africa who face the west Africans from Mali in front of what will be a capacity 56,000 crowd at the Moses Madhiba Stadium in Durban at 3:30am Sunday Thai time.

Not only will South Africa be looking for a place in the last four but also to gain some revenge for their defeat by Mali at the same stage in 2002.

Sunday’s action starts with the clash of the unbeaten heavyweights: Ivory Coast and hard-to-beat Nigeria, who have reached this stage despite their coach Stephen Keshi repeatedly saying his young team is in a period of transition.

Ivory Coast, chasing a second title since their only success 21 years ago, look too strong for Nigeria but their talisman and captain Didier Drogba, who has seen too many campaigns end in failure, is taking nothing for granted.

“We know what to expect, it is going to be very tough,” he said after scoring in their 2-2 draw with Algeria on Wednesday.

“It’s too early to talk of titles, but we can still dream.”

That game is at the magnificently-appointed Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg at 10:00 p.m. Thai time before the action switches to Nelspruit where the sand-covered pitch at the Mbombela Stadium looks more suited to beach volleyball than international football.

The surprisingly impressive Burkina Faso and unpredictable Togo, who qualified for the later stages for the first time in eight attempts, will have to deal with the pitch in their bid to reach the last four.

Real Romance
All four games have their obvious attractions, but there is no doubt which one will capture the imagination of football romantics watching on TV around the world – Ghana’s clash with Cape Verde on Saturday.

Cape Verde are the smallest nation ever to compete in the finals, and coach Lucio Antunes is a friend of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.

What might have been overlooked is that despite their obvious limitations in terms of international experience and the strength of their domestic league, Antunes has forged a Mourinho-like work ethic into his team and the sum is greater than the individual parts.

Antunes does not give much away when he speaks other than to say he has met his objectives in getting Cape Verde this far, but there is some talent in the side, most obviously from the self-styled Platini (Luis Soares) in attack, Ryan Mendes in midfield and captain Nando in defence.

Ghana, another side in development according to coach Kwesi Appiah, have talent and experience in almost every position and if skipper Asamoah Gyan is on form as he was in Monday’s 3-0 win over Niger, Cape Verde will find it hard to keep him quiet.

Once that match is over, the attention will switch to the hosts, who finished top of Group A after a win against Angola and draws against Cape Verde and Morocco.

While South Africa will fancy their chances of reaching the semi-finals, Mali boast one of the stars of the tournament so far in former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita.

— Reuters

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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Thailand

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC

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Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | The Thaiger

The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi will feature Thailand’s only national marking her third fight with the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts competition. 24 year old Loma Lookboonme, from Burirram in northeastern Thailand, will fight in the event on October 3, 2020.

Loma is a Muay Thai fighter who has adapted her MMA skills to fight in the UFC where she currently trains at the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket. Loma qualified for the national team at the age of 19 and has fought in over 12 nations worldwide. She currently trains 6 days a week starting daily at 6:30am with a 3 kilometre run. In the UFC, she will be competing against China’s Angela Lee who is the undisputed champion of the 52 kilogram fist weight category.

Phuket Muay Thai fighter is the first Thai national to compete in UFC | News by The Thaiger

Loma’s parents are former Muay Thai fighters and her 2 sisters currently compete as well. She reportedly started training at 8 years old after being inspired by her father, whom she describes as her “hero.”

Like most Thais in such fighting sports, Muay Thai offers a way to rise out of poverty-and fighting for the UFC can be financially lucrative. But Loma says her only Thai sponsor is the gym where she trains, with the rest of her sponsors being from foreign brands. She says she is trying to get more Thai sponsors but feels that maybe she needs to win the UFC first before Thai brands notice her.

Loma lost her last fight and says her new opponent gives her nothing to lose. She says her goal is to get into the Top 10, but is not sure when it will happen. Loma says for now, it would be good to fight against someone in the Top 10 to help her prepare for her future.

FULL INTERVIEW: Thisrupt.co

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Tourism

Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs

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Phuket airport ready for tourists after finishing Covid screening labs | The Thaiger

Phuket Airport is officially ready for tourists as authorities say they have finished installing Covid screening labs in an effort to welcome international travellers. The 5T Model for Covid-19 is being used at the airport with the goal of screening large groups of people in a quick and efficient manner. The Phuket health chief says the 5T’s stand for Target, Testing, Treating, Trusting and Tracing.

Phuket has one large airport at the north end of the island but is separated into two separate terminals – a domestic terminal (the original airport terminal), and a new international terminal opened in 2016.

The target category refers to the target groups of tourists while the tracing stands for software that will be used to monitor their movements. The testing category refers to Covid tests that will be implemented to travellers upon arrival along with the treatment and trust categories signifying the readiness of resources for medical treatment and confident communications between all parties respectively.

The Covid-19 lab container module has been set up at Phuket airport’s Terminal X (the terminal opened for charter flights opened in 2014) and will be tested tomorrow with its operation to start on September 30. As large groups of tourists could arrive (later in the year, the lab is reportedly capable of testing 96 people at a time with test results becoming available in 6 hours. What the airport would do withe tested passengers whilst waiting for 6 hours, has not been detailed at this stage.

Such a readiness plan to welcome foreign tourists originally singled out Phuket due to its popularity with travellers, and as a so-called guinea pig model to test in a controlled environment (Phuket is an island joined to the Thai mainland by a single 300 metre road bridge). Once dubbed the Phuket Model, authorities have proposed to rename the plan to “Special Tourist Visa” due to the confusion and opposition it reportedly caused. The scheme is reportedly now being proposed for all areas of Thailand but only allowing foreigners from specific countries.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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