Bangkok Veterans League
Season #3, Event #7
— Annual Traditional Friendly Derby Match —
• Inaugural "Bangkok Veterans -vs- Bangkok Japanese" •
25/Aug/2007 • Patana School

Japan snatches the inaugural trophy in the very last kick

Date: 09/Sep/2007
In hopes of further expanding our Vets activities in Bangkok, the Veterans League arranged a casual friendly within itself between East and West — pitting Bangkok Japanese against Bangkok Veterans.

A quick e-mail went out to all the Vets League team captains, and in a flash, we had a team:
    • Veterans League
        - Eralp (M)
    • Casuals League
        - Chris
    • British Club
        - Peter
    • BSL Veterans
        - Roland
    • LeCoq French
        - Dominique (C)
        - Gilles
        - Germain
        - Marc
        - Olivier
        - Etienne
    • Sunbelt United
        - Preben
        - Keith
    • Anatolian Turks
        - Beyhan
        - Haydar
        - Neset
        - Yilmaz
    • Scandinavian Vikings
        - Svend
    • Winking Frog
        - Graham
        - Joe
        - Paul

Similarly, Bangkok Japanese consisted of the 3 well-established Japanese teams in Bangkok:
    • Bangkok United Japan (BUJ) — 9 "young" players!
        - Arai
        - Fukuyama
        - Mori
        - Ochiai
        - Sasaki
        - Sugiyama
        - Tsuchimoto
        - Wakana
        - Yoneyama
    • Japan Football Club (JFC) — 5 "excellent" players!
        - Nakajima
        - Nakanishi
        - Nakazawa
        - Oohira
        - Yamaguchi
    • Japan Allstars (JAS) — 5 "experienced" players!
        - Haginoya
        - Ikemoto
        - Kato
        - Kurachi
        - Sugita

This was a wonderful celebration of football and friendship, heartily enjoyed by everyone who took time to participate. Being the "first-ever" inaugural annual traditional match for the Bangkok Veterans, everyone was eager to get the proceedings going. Not to mention the many twists-&-turns the whole match took all the way till the end when it came down to the wire to decide the winner, producing an ending that not even Hollywood (or Bollywood!) would have cooked up for the spectators (read on for the details on that ) ..!

Being a collection of players from the 3 Japanese teams in Bangkok, the Japanese were out at Patana School in huge numbers, and looked a tough side to reckon with. The Veterans also produced 20 players from many teams in the Vets League for this massive inaugural occasion.

Having liked playing in the new 3 periods x 30 minutes format in the previous few friendly matches, the Captains agreed to go ahead the same way, this time the Referees seeming slightly less baffled.

For the Veterans, the elder statesman among the crew, LeCoq's Dominique, was unanimously agreed to lead the charge against the Japanese with the following Starting-11 in a standard 4-4-2 format:

Fwd. Yilmaz Gilles
Mid. Peter Paul Joe Dominique
Def. Roland Marc Neset
GK Chris

Substitutes Bench:
   • Preben
   • Beyhan
   • Etienne
   • Germain
   • Haydar
   • Olivier
   • Roland
   • Svend
   • Eralp

1st Period:
    After the initial pleasantries, handshakes and photo-shoots, the game got started to a reasonably cool (31-deg) weather (in Bangkok terms!). The 1st Period seemed to be a very even game, while the Japanese passing the ball well, and the Veterans mounting frequent attacks.

With plenty of substitutes throughout, Graham and Marc kept a clean-running defence for a good measure.

    • First Break ==> Veterans 0 - 0 Japanese

2nd Period:
    The 2nd Period, turned out to be a mirror (boring!) image of the 1st Period, many individual battles taking place all over the pitch, but producing no goals for either teams.

    • Second Break ==> Veterans 0 - 0 Japanese

3rd Period:
    The complexion of the game totally changed in 3rd Period when the Japanese got an early goal. It was a wonderfully built goal all the way from the left fullback, then switched to the right fullback, then passed to right midfield, then a long ball to right wing, and a well-placed cross onto the waiting head of Nakanishi San in the back post, while the whole Veterans defence watched in awe. As they say, you need only 7-sec to score a goal in football. [Score: 0-1]

Not to be perturbed, the Veterans kept on pressing ahead and got their reward a few minutes later off of Winking Frog's Paul "the Bling" who beautifully placed the ball into bottom-right corner out of the mele in the penalty-box. [Score: 1-1]

Now inside the last 10 min, we all though the game would go to penalties to decide the inaugural winner, because the legs were getting awfully tired.

To the disbelief of the Veterans (and amazement of everyone watching), we saw the unusual suspect, Mori San, score his "first-ever" header goal from a ball coming in from a freekick just outside the penalty-box, and what a wonder it was, skillfully placing it to the top-left corner, out of reach of Casuals Chris, and everyone else for that matter. [Score: 1-2]

The twists-&-turns were even mounting, just 3 min before the final whistle, the Veterans's wonderboy, Paul "the Bling", who had already been center stage with a goal and a booking earlier by the decisive Referee, stole a ball in a rough tackle barely in the middle of the Japanese half and blasted home a low straight-on shot from the dead center, which seemed like an easy-to-handle ball for the Japanese 2nd string goalkeeper. That was the moment when the Veterans witnessed (and the goalkeeper experienced) a miracle to see the ball slip from the keeper's arms and agonizingly roll through his legs into the net for an unexpected but still pleasant equalizer. [Score: 2-2]

    • Full Time ==> Veterans 2 - 2 Japanese

Penalty Shootout:
    When the final whistle went off, both Captains agreed on a 5-each penalty-shootout to decide the winner. Quickly, the Veterans selected its 5 penalty kickers, Joe preferring to be the first and Paul insistantly asking to be the last.

So the shootout starts:
  1. Mori San converts his; Joe is confident and scores his.
  2. Japanese next player fools Chris and scores; Captain Dominique bungles wide left.
  3. Japanese scores again; Marc doesn't forgive.
  4. This time Japanese bungles wide right; Gilles on the mark. Equal on penalties
  5. Chris almost keeps out next from the Japanese, but just not enough!
At this point, the twists-&-turns were even further mounting, when we saw Wonderboy Paul "the Bling" enter the frame. Without even needing the place the ball to his liking, makes his run straight away to blast the hell out of the ball. And, here's the Hollywood ending — the ball hits the goalkeeper, finds the left-post, takes a weird curve, hits the crossbar, smashes down on the goal-line, and, finally, is caught by the Japanese goalkeeper, allowing the Japanes to claim the winners title in this inaugural annual friendly in the very last kick of the match.

Unbelievable! Stuff of legends, which I'm sure Paul will talk to his grand children (or perhaps grand grand children) for years to come.

    • Final Score ==> Veterans 2(3) - (4)2 Japanese

    Overall, a wonderful outing for all the Vets involved, and we all enjoyed the spirit of football as it was originally intended (a few thousand years ago!). The Veterans played their heart out, and kept the scoring low (thanks to the great defensive work from Graham, Marc, Roland, Haydar, Svend, Olivier, and Dominique), but came short to the Japanese who had a slight bit of better time on the pitch. Congratulations to Captain Mori San and Bangkok Japanes for a deserved win!

Final Word:
    Of course, a very special thanks to BUJ's Mori San for agreeing on these "Vets friendlies" concept, and mobilizing the other Japanese teams in town.

Hope we can create more of these opportunities amongst the Vets in Bangkok, and have many more chances to play with other teams as well.

One last but important note, best wishes to LeCoq Dominique's young son, Etienne, who is off to his studies at the University of Nice in the heart of French Riviera. We enjoyed having him amongst us — an investment for Vets League for the upcoming 15 years ..!

We are all already looking forward to the 2nd annual "Veterans -vs- Japanese" match in 2008.

So, watch this space. And, do read the summary of the match from the defensive maestro Graham's perspective below.

Kind regards,


Picture 1 — Inaugural match trophies, in appropriate proportions, raring to go!

Picture 2 — Bangkok Japanese look strong, at least numerically! Pictured are:
    Standing: Kato, Tsuchimoto, Mori, Ochiai, Yoneyama, Nakazawa, Nakanishi
    Middle: Sasaki, Wakana, Arai, Sugita, Yamaguchi, Sugiyama
    Front: Haginoya, Kurachi, Fukuyama, Ikemoto, Oohira, Nakajima

Picture 3 — Bangkok Veterans high in spirit at the beginning of the day. Pictured are:
    Standing: Eralp, Chris, Joe, Yilmaz, Marc, Dominique, Neset, Peter, Roland, Haydar
    Front: Paul, Svend, Keith, Gilles, Etienne, Beyhan, Olivier, Graham, Germain

Picture 4 — Marc doing his best to bring the ball out from the defence, while Peter speeding up to offer options.

Picture 5 — Bangkok Veterans during the 1st break pep-talk.

Picture 6 — Keith and Gilles at the 2nd Period kickoff.

Picture 7 — Mori San takes and scores Bangkok Japanese's 1st penalty in the shootout.

Picture 8 — The fateful moment when Bangkok Veterans's 5th and last penalty by Paul is denied by the post, crossbar, goal-line and the goalkeeper.

Picture 9 — Truly joyful joint-team photo at the end of the day.

Picture 10 — Captain Dominique somberly receiving Bangkok Veternas's Runners-up trophy.

Picture 11 — . . . and starts signing "We are the champions of the world!"

Picture 12 — Captain Mori San receiving Bangkok Japanese's inaugural winners trophy.

Picture 13 — The 2 captains memorializing the day, while Marc is playing tricks at the back!.

From: Graham
Team: Winking Frog
Date: 27/Aug/2007

The latest fruit of EG's endeavors to expand the profile of veterans football in Thailand took place on Aug/25th when the Bangkok Japanese took on a Bangkok Veterans composed of select players from select teams in the Vets League at Patana School.

Both teams arrived with large squads, and it was decided to play 3 sessions of football lasting 30 min, allowing everyone plenty of time on the field. Plenty for most of us, but of course the ever keen and restless Keith would have played more in the pitch dark night, if he was permitted.

Aptly named Bangkok Veterans had major contributions from France, Turkey and England, amongst others. Dominique, the elder statesman, captained the side and did a good job especially in organizing the "system" of substitutions.

The game started under murky skies and at a pace that suited most, i.e., slightly above walking pace, but not by much. The Japanese showed good touches from the start and a cohesiveness that the Veterans lacked. The Veterans at times put together some good passing moves out of defence and through midfield, but the forwards found it difficult to link up and cause the Japanese defence any difficulty.

Meanwhile, the Japanese showed a little more pace up front and regularly tested the back line of Olivier, Neset, Graham and Marc (with Roland, Dominique and Svend also coming into the back four as required). However, the first 2nd Period passed with only few half chances made at either end, and the 3rd Period started with the teams tied at 0-0.

The Veterans midfield with Joe and Paul acting as the main fulcrum in the center slowly imposed themselves on the game, but still could not provide the link up that the forwards needed. Joe in particular played a lot of neat football, and brought the wider players into the game as much as possible. Paul, meanwhile, endeared himself to the Referee, and picked up a yellow-card after testing the Refs patience one too many times. Paul's influence on the game was not to end there though.

The game really came to life towards the end of the 2nd Period and into the 3rd Period as legs got tired. Casuals Chris, playing in goals for the Veterans, was asked to deal with more high balls as the Japanese switched from trying to run through the center to sending in more crosses from wide areas. Chris had varying degrees of success in collecting and punching those balls, but his fumbles were far outweighed by the collective defensive cock-ups of the back four that led to 2 goals being scored from headers.

In the first, the defence failed to clear or indeed even attempt to challenge for a high ball to the back post, allowing a Japanese player to steal around the back and nod in from 2 yards. The second goal was almost a carbon copy except for the farcical way in which 5 players called "goalkeepers ball" with none of those players being Chris, and he was left stranded as the Japanese netted again from close range.

Paul ("Triple B" to his Winking Frog colleagues – Baldy Bling Bling!) scored a nice equalizer from the edge of the box after the Japanese had taken the lead, and he continued to push further forward after the Veterans went 2-1 down. After some good work from Joe again, Paul found himself on the edge of the box and a speculative shot into the bottom left hand corner of the Japanese goal looked to be easy fodder for the goalkeeper, but he somehow contrived to let the ball go through his arms and under his body to trickle over the line. Score: 2-2, and that's how the 90 minutes came to an end.

Penalties ensued with the Japanese running out 4-3 winners after Mainman Paul's penalty, which saw the ball hit both the post and the goalkeeper, but was adjudged to not have crossed the line.

All-in-all, a fair result when considering the performances over the full game.

EG provided trophies, refreshments and speeches galore. Paul's wife, Manlika, was on hand to take post match photos, and stir some aching bones.

The game was played in a friendly competitive atmosphere, and promises to be a good regular fixture.

Thanks to everyone for turning up, and to EG for his continued good work.

From: Mori
Team: BU Japan
Date: 07/Oct/2007

Bangkok Japanese representative team who played against Bangok Veterans was organized by three well-known and active Japanese teams in Bangkok:
    (1) Japan Allstars,
    (2) Japan Football Club, and
    (3) Bangkok United Japan

Three teams have never met in the same time before we gather at Patana School for the match. That's a reason why every single player did not expect to show a fine team work, and also their own fantastic play in the game. However, in spite of our worry, Japanese team started with beautiful pass-work from the beginning of the game, and was keeping a good balance on offence-defense in the first period.

Every single Japanese player was been replaced every 15-20 minutes so that it can be kept good performance on the pitch. Actually, Japanese team could keep significant high-level performance during the game.

The first beautiful goal has been created by Nakanishi, FW, by continuous direct pass. That was a most particular pattern of Japanese strategy in recent Japanese football system.

The second goal was made by the different system, that a long ball was forwarded to the oldest aged, 51-year-old, Mori #50, for showing his fantastic heading skills. No one thought Mori can fit the ball correctly into the top corner, because the ball was kicked from far place to the much closed position to at goal mouth where the goalkeeper, Chris, was carefully defending. However, a miracle goal has borne by Japanese Samurai Spirit. If Japan national team could show such a spirit like this in the last World Cup, they might have beaten Brazil easily.

The game was over with Japanese team's victory after penalty-shootout. The game was so beautiful because both teams showed a friendly spirit, fair play and spirit of fun. Such a game will surely expand our football crazy guys's fun throughout the world. Thanks Football. Thanks Eralp San!



Feel free to e-mail to me if you would like to voice your take on the above summary, or would like to obtain the original resolution pictures.





Veterans -vs- Japanese
0 - 0
0 - 0
0 - 1 Nakanishi
Paul 1 - 1
1 - 2 Mori
Paul 2 - 2
2 - 2
(3) - (4)
    • FB: First Break
    • SB: Second Break
    • FT: Full Time
    • PS: Penalty Shootout