Sports-fanatic? Certainly not me. But it’ll such a waste not to experience this kind of thrill, excitement and fun after months and months of work and stress.
For the first time, Laos is the host for the 25th South-East Asian Games happening on Dec 9-18, wherein 11 countries will be battling it out for the gold. Yesterday was the first round of elimination for Men’s Football and we, fellow Filipino expatriates and my bosses, were part of the estimated 40,000 spectators (according to the commentator!) inside the newly-constructed Lao National Sports Complex. We witnessed the second half of the match between Team Malaysia and Team Timor Leste and the first half of Team Thailand vs Team Vietnam.
The stadium is waaaay beautiful. Last year, we passed by the area and everything was still dusty and unfinished. Seriously, no one believed the city could actually pull off the whole thing (tee hee). But now, it was lovely especially at night. The weather was cooperative too! At first, the sun was really scorching my face but when it finally set, the cool breeze filled the atmosphere. 🙂
So, alright… i felt really sad for Timor Leste because the whole match resulted in 11-0 in favor of Malaysia, it was such a horrible thing to watch. I was screaming for Timor Leste to have just one goal, even if the Vietnam fans were staring and laughing at me. Malaysia was just unforgiving, only 2 minutes left on the game, they still scored. i mean, seriously. who would be proud of scoring 11-0 against Timor Leste AND that it was only the elimination round. Way to show off, team.
And because we were seated at the Vietnam fans’ turf, we were practically forced to cheer on for Vietnam for the second match of the day. We were afraid these aggressive and passionate fans would mob us if we cheer on for the other team. But then again, because some Thais are not nice towards Lao people, and I considered myself Lao at that moment, I didn’t hesitate to cheer for Vietnam. God, was the game awesome! I never thought i could scream like that my whole life. The first half can be said grueling, considering nobody scored because both were such good players. Thailand team was composed of surprisingly huge and older people as opposed to Vietnam with young and quite lanky players. Moreover, those Thai players were offensive (!) and really maarte. Take this one player for example, no one was near him, and yet he just fell down and then the stretcher-people came to the rescue. I would know! I was watching the whole thing from my camera with telephoto lens. I can see their faces clearly, so when the player fell down I was all: ang arte ah! But still, team Thailand had the first goal. And then after we left (to avoid traffic jam and some of us were beat) we heard the stadium, filled with Vietnam fans, roar –Vietnam scored.
We still got stuck in traffic though. When we got home, we asked the hotel guy at the counter what the results were and he answered it was a draw. COOL! I can’t wait for the Thailand vs Laos match… that stadium will collapse!!
And so that was the first international sporting event i’ve witnessed live, with fans and the stadium –it was beyond awesome. Some of the photos taken during the event are posted below. Hope you’ll feel the whole sporting atmosphere the way i did. Enjoy!