Thai midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin apologized on Friday to Vietnamese football fans and players over a Facebook post believed to be aimed at trolling a Vietnamese footballer, which he uploaded during the Vietnam-Thailand clash at the King’s Cup 2019 on Wednesday.
Hosts Thailand suffered a shock 0-1 defeat at the hands of Vietnam in the semifinals of the international four-team tournament in Buriram.
While Chanathip was absent from the game due to injuries incurred before the tourney, he appeared to have watched it live, with a livestream session of the game being shared on his Facebook that day.
The 26-year-old also posted a status update in Thai, which reads “Slap the damn head. Haha”. As the post appeared right after Vietnam’s Doan Van Hau was slapped by Thitiphan Puangchan during the game, it was believed to be a shot directed at the Vietnamese player.
|This combined photo shows the controversial post on Chanathip Songkrasin's Facebook and the situation when Vietnamese and Thai players got into a quarrel during their King's Cup game on June 5, 2019. Photo: Viet Toan / Tuoi Tre News|
A number of Vietnamese Facebook users viewed the post by Chanathip as an aggressive action and flooded his account with hate comments and angry reactions.
The controversial Facebook post at one point attracted 7,100 comments and 2,000 shares, before it was removed, according to news website VnExpress.
Most of the comments were from Vietnamese users, who verbally attacked the Thai players in Vietnamese, Thai and English.
On Friday afternoon, Chanathip took to Facebook again to send a message to “the Vietnamese football team and all the Vietnamese football supporters.”
“I would first like to extend my apologies to Doan Van Hau and the Vietnamese team for what I did,” he wrote in Vietnamese.
“I would also like to send my sincere apologies to all Vietnamese fans for what I said. This is really my fault and I sincerely feel guilty about what I did.”
|A screenshot of Chanathip Songkrasin's post on his Facebook|
After the apologizing part, Chanathip went on to say that in his opinions, “Thailand and Vietnam are the most powerful opponents in ASEAN in the present time,” referring to the ten-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“But more important than anything else is the fact that we are friends who work together to develop and better ASEAN football,” he wrote.
“From now on I really hope that players and supporters stop this conflict and work together to help not only Thailand and Vietnam, but also all ASEAN nations in the future.
“Once again, thank you, and apologies [for what I did].”
The Thai player fell short of saying what he was referring to by repeating “what I did,” nor did he mention his Facebook post or the Vietnam-Thailand game at King’s Cup.
Vietnam beat Thailand 1-0 thanks to a header in injury time by veteran striker Anh Duc in a match marred by violence, with five yellow cards given out.
The Golden Stars will play Curacao in the final match, while the hosts compete for the third-place title with India on Saturday.