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Thai stars to clash with Liverpool Legends at Thanyapura Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thai stars to clash with Liverpool Legends at Thanyapura Phuket | Thaiger

PHUKET: THE clash of legends on Phuket. In mid-June, a team of former Thailand internationals hope to turn back the clock and take the game to a potent force of illustrious former Liverpool FC players.

One of the most celebrated strikers ever to wear a ‘war elephants’ shirt is Piyapong Pue On. A national hero, he has represented Thailand on 129 occasions between 1981 and 1999. With an astonishing 103 goals, he still holds the record as this country’s most prolific scorer.

Piyapong has been given the task of managing the Thailand team which will challenge Liverpool FC for the Prime Minister’s Cup on June 13 in Bangkok and on June 18 in Phuket.

Proceeds from the charity matches will go to support the Youth Football Home foundation in Thalang.

“I was asked to be player/manager about three months ago and it is a great honor to have this responsibility,” said Piyapong.

“The games are for a great cause, but I relish the opportunity to play against this great team and the players, I know, are very much looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

Piyapong, an active officer in the Royal Thai Air Force, played for their football team from 1977 to 1984, then served as their manager from 1997 to 2008.

Scouted by South Korean K-League team Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso [now FC Seoul] in 1984, Piyapong was such an inspiration the club was crowned champions in his first season. He scored 12 goals in 21 games, which also won him the accolade of the league’s top scorer – the first time a foreign player had ever done so and a feat unrepeated until 1999.

“I come from a generation of amateur players. We played with much more spirit than those in the modern game. Nowadays the players are professional athletes. They can analyze and compare games and playing techniques, which greatly improves performance. It’s a different motivation when you play for big salaries, as opposed to playing just for the love of the game,” Piyapong said.

The day after Piyapong’s Thailand team face Liverpool, the full national squad were due to play Bahrain with hopes of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics, but have now been eliminated due to fielding an allegedly illegal player.

“This is unfortunate. They had a good chance to go forward in the competition. But we are moving in the right direction and if the team’s results and fortunes improve, we should see a big impact in about four years,” he said.

“Right now I want to focus on the Liverpool games. We are helping a worthy cause so I won’t put too much pressure on my players, but I expect a great game and look forward to socializing with players and supporters,” Piyapong said.

Kiatisak Senamuang, named as player-coach for the two-game rubber, is as much a household name in Thailand as Piyapong.

Nicknamed “Zico”, he has been capped 130 times for Thailand, but his goal tally ranges from 63 to 100 due to a conflict with FIFA over international appearances.

He currently manages Big Bang Chulalongkorn University FC, currently second place in Division 1 of the Thai League, two places above FC Phuket.

Kiatisak’s playing career began with Krung Thai Bank. From there he had spells in Singapore and Vietnam and one season in England with Huddersfield Town FC under Steve Bruce.

“This not my first time facing Liverpool. We drew 1-1 in 2009 and I exchanged my shirt with Sami Hyypia after the game,” he recalls.

“I hope many Thai people come to the game. It would be a great help to our team to have lots of support when we play these world-class players,” Kiatisak said.

“Obviously we don’t have the same abilities as when we were younger, but given the chance I’ll certainly try a few volley’s at goal and we’re not short of a few tricks either,” he said.

Asked for his response to the Olympic qualifying debacle, Kiatisak reflected the Thai players disappointment.

“This is a big mistake, but we’re not sure where the problem stems from. The Asian Football Confederation have placed the blame on Thailand, but they must look at their responsibility in the matter. The team is very upset, but are willing to get involved to clear the issue,” Kiatisak said.

“In the end, the Legends game is for charity and we hope to provide entertainment for football fans and raise awareness for this cause,” Kiatisak added.

The Legends game kicks off on June 18 at 6.30pm in aid of Phuket’s Youth Football Home, at Thanyapura, with the gates open from 4pm.

Tickets are available from HomePro outlets on Phuket or can be purchased at Thanyapura.

Visit W:footballlegendstour.com and W:thanyapura.com for more information.

— Neil Quail & Samaporn Janyanon

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hotel blog suggests Phuket should push ahead with July reopening despite Covid surge

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Hotel blog suggests Phuket should push ahead with July reopening despite Covid surge | Thaiger
PHOTO: Hotels and other tourism business are hoping the July 1st reopening goal can still be achieved.

A hotel information blog is claiming that, despite growing Covid-19 numbers, Phuket should stick to its schedule in reopening to travellers without quarantine in July. That’s only 2 and a half months away.

In an interview with the Director of Travel and Tourism Consulting at GlobalData, they stressed that while it is crucial to reign in the spread of Covid-19 and the B117 strain now manacing Thailand, the risk must not overshadow the need teo push forward with vaccinations and the march towards eliminating the quarantine by July in order to save the tourism industry and all those dependent on it.

“The Phuket pilot program is essential in creating a path towards economic recovery for Thailand, a country heavily dependent on tourism. More than 17% of Thailand’s gross domestic product is attributed to tourism and the Covid-19 pandemic has lead to the worst economic free-fall in over 20 years”

The blog acknowledges the inherent risk and possible appearance of foolishness to prioritise the plans to reopen and carry on with the same rollout schedule. But they urge Thai authorities to consider that July 1 is still 2 and a half months away, leaving ample time to recover and make progress towards the approaching Phuket reopening. A vital aspect of the reopening plan lies in vaccinating over 70% of Phuket’s provincial residents, a sizable task, but one that brings great benefit with or without the scheduled reopening.

“Pushing ahead to achieve this goal puts Phuket on track to welcome back tourists, perhaps in a “bio-bubble”, and restart the economy. The economy is desperate with household debt growing, pushing the government to enact emergency decrees to provide relief. These households need the return of tourism and the influx of cash international tourists will bring.”

The blog hopes that Thai authorities can balance the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in Phuket to protect the Thai population with the economic need to bring back tourism. They believe that with sufficient measures in place, vaccinated locals could welcome vaccinated international tourists back to Phuket reopening safely in July.

SOURCE: Hotel News Resource

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

UPDATE: The field hospital in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district, west of the Chao Phraya river, had its first 10 Covid patients today. The director of the medical services office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says that the 10 patients into the makeshift hospital, located at the Chalerm Phra Kiat Stadium, will enable assessment of the performance by the medical team, before more patients arrive – Thai PBS World

ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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