Competing for the cup in the main competition was Phuket FC, who took on neighboring province Surat Thani FC, but the highlight of the event was the friendly match held prior to the main game between local VIP players and a team of Thai celebrities. The aptly named “VIP Phuket All-Stars” team was made up of Phuket Governor – Maitri Inthusut, PPAO Chief – Paiboon Upattising, PPAO Council Member and President of Phuket Sports Association – Saroj Angkanapilas, PPAO Council members, local government executives, officers and movie stars including Pop Thanawat and Pet Thakrit. The opposing team comprised of stars including Saksit Tangtong, Num Kongkrapan, Wina Kraibut, Sena Hoy, and a number of other celebrities. VIP Phuket lost to Stars 2:0.
In his opening speech, Mr. Paiboon Upattising explained that the goal of the event is to promote team sport as an alternative pastime, as opposed to drugs and other vices, to local youths, and to use this as a way to instill in them a sense of discipline and sportsmanship.
Phuket sportspersons said Mr. Paiboon needed all the support he can get to raise Phuket to international standards. They also believed that sport played a big role in Phuket’s tourism industry and that contributions to local sports activities were high on the PPAO agenda.
The event was supported by many sectors including Phuket Sports Association, Chor Changkit Co, Best for Media, Sports Authority of Thailand, Phuket Chamber of Commerce, Phuket Merchants Association, and Phuket Football Club. The operations committee took care to keep the running costs low and intended to donate all proceeds received – after deducting expenses – to local schools.
Phuket Governor praised PPAO for its drive to instill the value of sports in young people. He agreed with Mr. Paiboon that team sports are known to build character, foster discipline and team spirit, and promote good health. He hoped that the event today would serve as a model for the local youths.