Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Football movie lifts tensions between Thai and Lao

The Thai film Mak Te Lok Talueng (Lucky Loser) is a football comedy about the Thai and Lao national football teams in which the Lao side beat Thailand to make it to the World Cup. Although the subject matter might seem innocuous, it has upset a lot of people, particularly in Laos, and subsequently will not be shown, The Bangkok Post reported. "At a first glance, one might think the Laotians should be glad that in the movie their national football side reaches the World Cup. But their government says the movie mocks Laos and also puts the team's success down to a Thai coach, played by Thai national sharpshooter Jakkrit Panitchphatikum. The film has also upset the Thais. According to Thai newspapers, the fans consider the movie an insult to Thailand as Laos book a World Cup berth at Thailand's expense after drawing with the Kingdom at Bangkok's Rajamangala stadium in the year the Football Association of Thailand is celebrating its 90th anniversary," observed the newspaper's Wanchai Rujawongsanti."

A number of Thai football officials and journalists also attacked the Sports Authority of Thailand for allowing the film-makers to hire Rajamangala stadium as the location for the deciding match in the movie. The movie was filmed there late last year when the Thai national side were using it as their training ground for the SEA Games. As a result, the team had to move to a hospital's football ground. "To be fair, there is no reason why Laos can't beat Thailand, although it would be regarded as an upset. They actually defeated Thailand 4-3 in a King's Cup match at Supachalasai, Thailand's national stadium, some three decades ago. It was one of the biggest upsets in international football as Laos came from three goals down to beat Thailand on their home soil. However, for football fans, there are a lot of entertaining and less controversial movies about football you can see other than Mak Te, which literally means 'kicking game' in Laos or ''football'," Wanchai wrote.

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