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Phuket Sports: The rise of Thailand’s futsal team

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: The rise of Thailand’s futsal team | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Sitting on a weathered white couch in the VIP section of the Saphan Hin Indoor Sports Complex, Thailand’s national futsal coach, Vic Hermans looks like he’d rather be on the touchline at the Phuket United vs Surat Thani match instead of watching it from the stands.

The Dutchman visited Phuket recently to check out a few members of the Andaman Pearl, as well as seven players on Surat Thani’s team, who currently play for Thailand’s futsal team.

Vic’s enthusiasm for the game rubs off on those he talks to and you get the sense that this is a man whose passion for the game means he would happily talk about it for hours. As with most fans who watch Phuket United, he agrees that the three Brazilians – Jackson Santos, Marcos and Jardel – are the stand out players.

Coach Hermans singled out Marcos for praise.

“He looks like the leader of the team. He tells the players, even the coach what to do. He will be a manager one day.”

Vic Hermans started his career as a player for the football team MVV Maastricht in Holland, before crossing over to play futsal. As a futsal player, his career spanned 23 years: winning the Dutch league five times, capped 50 times for the Dutch national team and in the 1989 Futsal World Cup, held in Holland, he was crowned the tournament’s most valuable player.

When his playing days finished, Vic embraced his role as manager for the national teams of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Iran, Malta and now Thailand. He doesn’t believe futsal as a game has changed much over the years.

“I see the same style. Everywhere I have been, I have seen the same style. Even here I see the same style as it was in my time, only it is faster.”

The Thai national team has not played a competitive match since last November’s World Cup – won by Brazil – which was held in Bangkok.

Thailand made it to the second round before eventually losing 7-1 to the beaten finalists Spain. Vic was happy with his team’s performance, as they have never made it past the group stages in their three previous world cup appearances, but the gulf in class between teams such as Spain and Brazil compared to Thailand was evident to anyone who followed the World Cup.

Vic told the Phuket Gazette that in order for the Thailand to catch up, the futsal infrastructure in the country needs to change

“The Thai national team is number one for the people but I think the league is more important. The league in Thailand is so important, as every week they play games at a high level. Thailand must have a well structured league competition. The league must be played regularly from August to March – that’s the main priority.”

The current GMM Thailand Futsal Premier League has come to an end and focus will once again shift to the national team.

He added: “The other thing is in Thailand we have a lot of young players and there is nothing for the young players.

I tried to set up an under-21 team. When you have an under-21 team, the national team will feel the pressure. Last year, in St Petersburg, I was invited to the under-21 tournament, which had teams like Spain competing but Thailand could not enter a team. For the next under-21 tournament we need to enter a team.”

Spain and Brazil are the dominant futsal nations and Thailand should follow their lead to help the country evolve as a futsal nation, not only in the way they play, but the actions of the players off the pitch.

“What we should do is look at teams like Spain, Argentina and Brazil and see what we can take from them. For example, their mentality and how they prepare for a game, how they [spend] their rest time. Thailand’s players, when they finish the game, they go to their room in the evening and look on YouTube and [other idle activities]… no no.

When you watch Spain’s team or Brazil’s team, watch what they do after a game – massage, healthy eating, rest. Our Thai players can learn a lot from that mentality.”

Obviously, the top futsal nations also show Thailand how a team should perform on the pitch.

“We must think more tactically. The Brazilians can play slow but here they think we must play fast. Controlling the game with the ball is key. When you have the ball I cannot score. When we have the ball we try to move it too much, too fast… I tell them to wait, wait.”

The honor of hosting the Futsal World Cup was not lost on Thailand, even if the country suffered the indignation of failing to construct the tournament’s 12,000-seater indoor futsal stadium in time for the Cup. Vic hopes that his players used the World Cup experience as a learning curve.

“When the team gets together in April, that will be my first question to the boys, ‘What are your feelings from the World Cup?’ I am looking in the mirror and I want to know if they are looking in the mirror.”

Vic has a lot of faith in his project but he is aware that it will be a long term one. The country as a whole needs to work together to help futsal grow and move on to the next level.

“I think Thailand can be level with Brazil and Spain. But we need to make a project and decide what we are going to do at certain points. Have projects for kids. Make Phuket important, make Lamphang important, make Chiang Mai important and you will see you have a lot of potential from players. You must find discipline with the players and you have to give them direction.”

Vic Hermans knows which
direction Thailand needs to go in order for the national team to catch up with Brazil and Spain in the long run, but he will need help from Thailand’s futsal league, clubs and players.

In the short term, Thailand will compete at the 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to be held at Incheon, Korea, from June 29 to July 6.

— Andrew Scott

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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