A Footballer’s Paradise
Mr Green was completely mesmerized by the stunning vistas as the longboat softly glided through the emerald water that was punctured by spectacular sea stacks. Savouring every second of his Thailand adventure, something in the far distance suddenly caught Mr Green’s eye.
He grabbed his adventure kit and pulled out his binoculars and as clear as day he saw a village, floating, in the middle of the water! Mr Green turned the lever of the engine to head towards the giant floating structure.
15 minutes later, his body bursting with anticipation, Mr Green arrived at a pier where an elderly fisherman welcomed him on land. “Welcome to Koh Panyee, the Island of the Flag! 200 years ago, our ancestor Toh Baboo left Indonesia and was in search of a new home for his people. Baboo promised his people that he would find them a place where there were lots of fish and where everyone could live. When he came across this island, he raised a flag atop its soaring cliff. That is how the island got its name, Koh Panyee – the Island of the Flag. Today, Koh Panyee is home to a little more than 1,400 people from 315 families – all descendants of Baboo.”
Absolutely stunned by what the fisherman had just told him, Mr Green began to make his way into the core of the village. There were hundreds of huts, shacks, restaurants, even a school and a health center as well as a mosque – all built on stilts over the surrounding shallow sea. Simply incredible!
Just when Mr Green thought he had seen it all, there it was. On the other side of the village, in the middle of the water, there was a GIANT floating football pitch.
“Football has always been a major part of life in our fishing village of Koh Panyee—but only on television. In 1986 a few of the village children built a floating pitch from scrap wood and old fishing rafts. During games, the entire village gathers next to the field. For us, football is so much more than a ball and two goals, it has brought all of us closer together. Please, come inside my hut and you can watch the full story on my TV.”