Saturday 16th August, 2014
The Thailand Tigers have won the 2014 Indochina Cup in front of a good crowd in Pattaya, Thailand.
In a tournament that will be remembered for historic firsts, the Tigers were sensational all day against tough opposition from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
This year’s tournament welcomed the ‘Fighting Cocks’ from Myanmar for their Indochina Cup debut, and they proved to be worthy entries, notching up their first international victory in a hard-fought affair against the Cambodian Eagles.
Coming into the tournament, the Vietnam Swans once again looked a strong threat to win their 5th title in a row, and the clash between the Tigers and Swans in round fiveeventually determined the tournament winner.
Always tough opponents, the Laos Elephants were the team to get closest to the Tigers on the day, with the Cup winners only just getting past the Phants by 7 points in the end.
While Tigers’ coach Geoff Everett felt that it was a consistent team effort that led to the Tigers’ success, there were two individual performances that stood out on the day, with Tigers’ captain Patrick Fitzgerald winning the Indochina Cup Best Player Award for the second year in a row, and Alan Borchardt winning the Leading Goal Kicker Award.
Further history was created at the end of the round-robin matches, when the five teams changed from adversaries into allies for the inaugural Indochina Indigenous All-Stars match.
Facing a combined Kangaroos team, the All-Stars, coached by 2006 Norm Smith Medalist and Premiership player Andrew Embley, held on to win a nail-biter by 3 points. With Embley guiding the team and the entire crowd behind them, the All-Stars showed spirit and tenacity to fight off a late challenge from the Kangaroos and seal the win. Borchardt added the Best on Ground Award in the All-Stars game to his ICC Goal Kicking Award, with a dominant display in the midfield.
For the All-Stars, a team made up of the indigenous players from the each of the five countries in the tournament, the journey has just begun, but after their initial success on Saturday, the goal of entering a side in the 2017 International Cup is definitely achievable.
On behalf of the five Indochina teams, we would like to congratulate Thailand’s Rut Ngarmariyakul for inspiring and driving the formation of the team and then captaining his side to their historic victory.
And a huge thanks to the Indigenous All-Stars Coach Andrew Embleyfor traveling all the way to Thailand just to be part of this match. His contributions to the All-Stars team and the tournament in general were greatly appreciated by all footy fans in the Indochina region.