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‘Madam Bo’ Pijika Bunkwang, Goddess of Soccer in the Land of Million Elephants

The opening match of U23 Laos at SEA Games 31 left many regrets for the fans. Coach Michael Weiss and his team had a commendable performance against Singapore with excellent individual technique and sharp play. They are only a short distance away from victory and promise to bring more surprises in the coming matches.

Therefore, many people must be surprised with the rise of Lao football, who have shed mediocrity to move closer to the developed football scene in the region. It is the result of a comprehensive reform effort carried out by the Lao Football Federation and dedicated people who aspire to develop football in the land of millions of elephants. One of them is Pijika Bunkwang.

  Madam Bo Pijika Bunkwang, Goddess of football in the land of a million elephants - Photo 1.

Portrait of Pijika Bunkwang, the most beloved girl in Laos. (Photo: Kapook)

There was a period when the Lao Premier League, also known as the Lao Premier League, fell into a difficult situation because of the withdrawal of investors, including large Vietnamese enterprises. Many teams disappeared, competition decreased and the problem of match-fixing broke out.

That’s when Pijika appeared. As an avid fan of Liverpool, of course Pijika has a boundless love for football and is determined to improve Laos’ position in this sport. Initially, she worked as a coordinator for the newly formed Dragon King FC team, then became the President of Vientiane United, the first Lao woman to sit at the top of a football club.

Not only supporting money, participating in running and organizing charity tournaments, Pijika also cares about young talents. Like once she saw a clip of a boy playing football. His name is Khampan Duangwilai from Sa Mouay, the southern border district of Laos in Saravane province. Pijika found Khampan, brought him to perform in the 4-Star friendly tournament and then, let him join the Academy of Vientiane United.

  Madam Bo Pijika Bunkwang, Goddess of football in the land of a million elephants - Photo 2.

Pijika is the first Lao woman to sit at the top of a football club. (Photo: Kapook)

A Thai-Laotian bloodline, and inspired by “Madam Pang” Nualphan Lamsam, Pijika tries to promote the sports relationship between the two countries with friendly matches against Chonburi FC or Buriram United. Therefore, Pijika is also very popular in Thailand, being compared by Thai media to “Madam Pang” and calling her with the nickname “Madam Bo”.

However, “Madam Bo” always puts national interests first. At the Southeast Asian U23 tournament in Cambodia earlier this year, when Laos reached the semi-finals against Thailand, “Madam Bo” announced a bonus of 40 million kip if the young Lao men won.

  Madam Bo Pijika Bunkwang, Goddess of football in the land of a million Elephants - Photo 3.

Pijika was compared by Thai media to “Madam Pang”. (Photo: Kapook)

Unfortunately, Laos U23 could not break through the limit, losing 0-2. But reaching the semi-finals is also a great success. So they received 100 million Kip, including a bonus of 40 million for good results in the Asian U23 qualifiers. This is her personal money, and she promises to raise another 10 million from donors.

Currently, “Madam Bo” has resigned as the President of Vientiane United because of a dispute with the Federation in 2019, but still holds an important role in the Lao National Bodybuilding Federation, where her husband works, and is the Vice President of the People’s Football Federation. disabilities. She is certainly still closely following the progress of Laos U23 in the SEA Games and is ready to give a big reward if they continue with the same performances as before Singapore.

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