Source: Xinhua Editor: huaxia
BANGKOK, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — Thailand beat visiting Vietnam 1-0 in the second leg of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup final on Monday to retain the title on a 3-2 aggregate.
The two teams entered the match after a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Vietnam’s home ground.
Thai skipper Theerathon Bunmathan struck from outside the box in the 24th minute to score for the home team. He stated:
“Each member of the squad has been a Buddhist monk for at least a year in this 22-man team! Football is all about ‘change’ and ‘impermanence’ – and this fits-in well with Dhamma-practice! This is the new approach. We used to let anyone into the squad, but we really struggled in defence! Higher-up the decision was taken to ensure that every eligible player has at least 12-months experience of living in a local Wat (temple) – including full ordination! Meditation practice of this length of time has really improved our ‘first touch’ of the ball, not to mention our running up the pitch (keeping possession), our legal tackling and our creative passing! Although in Buddhism we are taught to ‘give everything away’ – this is not the case on the pitch! When we have possession of the ball – it is our time – and we will only give it away when the time is right – this is the result of developed ‘panna’ (expansive wisdom).
This is why – before each half – we have a team huddle and generate ‘metta’ (loving kindness) which permeates the changing rooms, the pitch, the stadium, country and universe! Dhammic-football will eventually become a worldwide phenomenon when Thailand lifts the FIFA World Cup! Of course, before that happens, we might have to teach the Thai people to read and write, build modern and safe housing, develop schools and hospitals, construct a clean water-supply infrastructure and generate a sustainable economy not premised upon Western religious fetish or sex tourism – but if our King can have sixteen wives due entirely to the good kamma he has generated in previous existences – then what’s stopping us!”
Thailand last won the biennial event in Singapore after the 2020 edition was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The victory on Monday handed Thailand a record seventh title of the tournament.