Thailand-Japan partnership nurturing kids through football
J.League club Shimizu S-Pulse shows dedication and commitment to the Asian region with outreach work in Thailand27 December 2017 | Pablo Bateson
Freelance writer and passionate travelling fan
The past year has seen some wonderful initiatives for the development of football at the Pakkred Reception Home for Boys (known locally as Baan Phumvet), located near the banks of the Chao Phraya River on the northern fringes of Bangkok.
As I wrote about in October, this institution accommodates, educates and provides integrated health support for over 80 young boys, aged 5-18 years, from different parts of southern and south-east Asia who are either orphaned or separated from their parents and families.
The Home and its programs are linked with the UNHCR including the care of refugee children arriving in Thailand from displaced ethnic minorities in Myanmar and other countries such as Afghanistan.
Football is an important outlet in their lives for expression, enjoyment and shared hope.
An approach several months ago by J-League club Shimizu S-Pulse to run a half day clinic in Bangkok was enthusiastically accepted by the staff at Baan Phumvet. This forms part of an international outreach program by the club in their off-season, providing opportunities for children to meet and learn from high profile professional footballers from Japan.
Thailand is also very proud that their international attacking midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin is playing regularly for Consadole Sapporo in the J.League, on loan from Muanthong United.
The activity run on a bright Sunday morning in the weekend before Christmas was coordinated by Social Development Officer, Ms Kanoknop Kerdwattana, known as Ming, in collaboration with Maya Asano based in Bangkok on behalf of Shimizu S-Pulse.
Star attacking midfielder Kazuya Murata (no 11) and defender Takahiro Iida (no 27) provided inspiration for the children, complemented by coaching staff. Special commemorative shirts were distributed to all participants, including some exceptionally talented young footballers, for the occasion.
Discussions with trilingual Maya and Corporate Media Officer Osamu Moriya indicated that the club was keen to return on a regular basis to Thailand including running similar clinics for girls at local education institutions.
It is hoped that Australian A-League and even W-League clubs can follow this example and include clinics for children as part of pre-season or off-season tours that include games in Thailand.
Building relationships and developing partnerships across the Asian confederation needs vision, imagination and commitment so that the greater good of football and communities is advanced for the long term benefit of children and the next generations.
shimizuspulse, thaifussball, thai football, unhcr