– Videos: reactions from CEO, manager, player, & brother of Camara
photos of game & celebrations; 1st video before & after game;
Their last game of the playoff season kicked off at Phuket’s Surakul Stadium on Saturday 25 December, Christmas Day, at 4pm, the same time as their rivals in 1st place Chainat, and Rayong in 3rd place played their respective matches, with FC Phuket needing to at least draw or win to get promotion, as they were only 2 points ahead of Rayong.
However it looked like Samut Prakarn came to spoil the Christmas celebration as they scored early in the opening nervous first few minutes of play, and then committed lots of fouls, annoying the vociferous home crowd and eventually the referee had to send off one of their players.
Gradually FC Phuket piled on the pressure and late in the second half after about 80 minutes they somehow bundled home two quick goals to ease the nerves and started to enjoy easier possession and constant cheers and drums from their loyal fans with the crowd still coming in and building up as news spread of their win. Samut Prakan fans were getting rather irritated and tense in the stands until officials calmed them down. It didn’t even matter what the other rival teams did, but in fact they both lost, so FC Phuket ended up top of the play offs after a year long season when they also won their league. So they will be deservedly promoted to Division I of the Thai League and dedicated this achievement to their fellow player Camara Ahmed, who has almost recovered from his recent heart attack on the field during a previous game.
After the game Paiboon Upatasing, CEO of Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO,) who supported the team and facilities, told Phuketindex he was very proud of FC Phuket as it was expected to win; he thanked everybody involved; it was good game, they made history, and it made a happy Christmas, they got 300,000 baht for winning. The PPAO spent 5 million; next step is 10 million baht, but they will just celebrate tonight.
The manager Niwit was very happy and told us they tried and worked hard together, were not afraid, were not listening for the other rivals; feels sad for Camara but happy for result, this victory was for Camara and they will see him in hospital tomorrow.
Camara’s brother Kone Lassine told me Camara will be happier, even though he cannot speak, he can understand, he will see him tonight, still hopes to go back to Ivory Coast with one other brother, despite impending civil war looming there. It was a lucky game, but good team; he would like to play for them too, like all the family. He hopes his brother recovers to play again for FC Phuket; the fans are so happy too and he will celebrate together with them.
Nene Bi, one of his fellow Ivorian players, said in broken English as French is his main language, that he was very happy and thanked everyone; he may stay on for next season, after deciding on a new contract on Wednesday; but he will return to his home country for 2 weeks, and hope to come back to Phuket next season.
So FC Phuket & their many green fans celebrated late after the game on the pitch with big fireworks and a concert with live band. The flood-lights were still shining brightly for the team with a great heart and now a great future.
2nd video of game highlights now on
incl. goals, shots, misses, injuries, bookings, sending off, crowd conflicts with officials, drumming & songs, final whistle with immediate celebrations & fireworks & Thank You speeches.”