Following on from my previous post featuring the kids of Pattaya participating in a major football tournament, here is the prequel to that event.
The men’s competition took place the day before on the Saturday. Again there was an abundance of skill on show from both Thai and farang players.
Firstly though, I must pay tribute to a lady known only as Colette, who literally could have saved me from a hospital visit. With not a cloud in the sky and temperatures hitting 32 degrees, I found myself feeling ill as the bright sunshine and heat took its toll on me.
I was burning, especially my face and head. I felt nauseous and if the truth be told, I was ready for home after only two hours of photography.
Then this very kind lady introduced herself. When she realised I was struggling, she brought me chocolate milk, water, rice and eggs and a beer with the statement “one of these will cure you – I am not sure which one but one will do the trick.” She was right. After eating and drinking the mixture of consumables, I was feeling great. She then presented me with a hat to stop the sun doing further damage.
Thank you Colette.
So back to the football. It still baffles me why the standard of football in Thailand is so poor at international level, when there is clearly an abundance of talent coming through. The skills from the kids on the Sunday was exceptional and many of the younger players in the adult competition were very capable, albeit on a seven-a-side basis.
Take my first image for example. The chap in the red, left the two opposition players for dead, with skill and pace, before approaching the keeper and sliding the ball into the net from a tight angle, despite the best efforts of the keeper.
The next photo is of a young goalkeeper, who is small in stature but incredibly graceful and talented, and as you can see, very adept in front of the camera.
I have taken photos of him and a few others at a beach football competition in Jomtien a few months back.
I selected the next one because the player is high in the air as he attempts to block a long pass from the player in white. He failed but the image was captured in a series of three and I like this one.
Next up is another skillful lad, who easily passes two players, leaving one on the floor. He successfully crossed the ball into the danger area but a goal was not forthcoming on this occasion.
In case you are wondering why so many teams are wearing white shirts with “MoneyGram” on them, this is because the sponsor provided strips for one of the teams in every match.
I must also add that every thirty minutes or so, I was treated to cold water, coke zero or beer by the organisers. I guess they had concerns that the old man may keel over in the heat 🙂
Now there is often a moment of hilarity at these events and this one was no exception, unless you are the poor lad lying on his back holding his testicles. The chap took a sore one from an opponent and was on the ground in agony. He was not afraid to let people know exactly where the pain was emanating from either.
“Oh my bollocks” was just one of the choice phrases he let rip with. I also cleaned that comment up somewhat 🙂
Of course acting with the utmost professionalism, I wandered over and took a few images of this crestfallen moment in his football career. I am happy to say, he was soon on his feet, resting against a wall.
Amazingly, no one offered to massage the area to speed up the healing process.
The lad taking the ball on his chest is one I particularly like. Especially when followed up with the subsequent image, which is taken a split second after the first. This time he resembles a ballerina as the ball rose upwards after connecting with his chest. He did however, bring the orb under full control seconds later.
How about a “sausage roll”, the diet of champions? Actually, the guy had been injured and was unable to continue, so like many others, he sampled some of the excellent food on offer at the event.
Not only was there Thai food, there was an excellent stall selling spaghetti, chicken and pork. Someone said there was a burger van but I failed to locate it.
The one of the chap in the Italian strip (at least I think that is what it is) appeals to me, as it represents a standard football image, with a player running and controlling ball. His poise is ideal for the shot.
Back to the goalkeeper mentioned earlier. This time he has pulled off a stunning save from a shot taken from a player out of picture on the right. Top class goalkeeping.
Yellow versus white as the player donning the yellow strip, attempts to pass beyond his adversary. I can’t recall if the tackle coming in was a success or not.
As the competition got into the final rounds, the guys became increasingly jubilant when they scored a goal. If I recall, the chap with his arms outstretched, scored a hat-trick during this match and is clearly delighted that his team are heading into the next round.
The image of the guy in the yellow shirt, depicts finesse, fitness and strength from a player who was rarely dispossessed when he had the ball at his feet.
Concentration on players faces, often results in good photos. The one above, is part of a series of five, where the duo are fighting for possession of the ball.
And last but not least is one that shows why the photographer should, whenever possible, get down low when capturing sports. If you observe professionals at football matches, they are often seated behind the goal. This is usually part of the ruling bodies restrictions on photographers but it also provides the best angle to take the photos.
Getting down to eye-level is great but sitting on the ground adds another dimension to your photography, typically at football events.
Finally, I would like to thank the organisers, sponsors and participants who permitted me access to the tournament. It has been a couple of years since I last took photos at football and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I only wish I had my other Nikon D610 in Thailand, so the images could have been a little bit sharper.
If anyone in Scotland is heading this way, maybe you could bring it to me:)