Thai league stars put government bigwigs in shade

Thai league stars put government bigwigs in shade

Rayong Kick Off!: Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, in action during the exhibition match.
Rayong Kick Off!: Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, in action during the exhibition match.

Star Riders got the better of a team of VVIP government officials skippered by Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, 5-3 in an exhibition game aimed at rebuilding tourists' confidence in the popular seaside resort of Rayong yesterday.

The 'New Normal' Demonstration Match: Rayong Kick Off! was staged in Rayong, which made headlines after a coronavirus-positive Egyptian military official visited several busy spots in the province, sparking fears of a second wave of Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

Warinthon Panyahakarn and Danai Jarujinda netted two goals each and Prabpakon Suwannabang added the fifth for the Star Riders, a team comprising leading Thai League 1 players.

The scorers for the VVIP government officials' team were Charnwit Phalajivin, Chote Trachu and Kanawat Chantralawan.

However, the staging of the game coincided with reports that former Thai League 1 champions Buriram United's new striker, Marko Scepovic from Serbia, has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) yesterday announced that two people were found infected with the Covid-19 virus, one of them being Scepovic.

Scepovic had travelled on a private jet and arrived in Buri Ram on July 19.

At first, the striker tested negative but stayed in an Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ). However, his second test on July 27 showed him infected with the virus despite being asymptomatic.

He is being treated at a Buriram hospital.

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang moved quickly to quash fears of another suspension of the Thai leagues.

"It will not effect our programme and the matches in Thai leagues will restart on Sept 12 as planned because he did not train with the team," said the FAT chief.


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