PSV visit Klong Prem prison
World Cup Behind Bars
There are 143 prisons in Thailand, the largest of which is the Klong Prem Central Prison in Bangkok. The greater complex houses up to 20,000 inmates, both Thai people and foreigners, many of whom serving a life sentence. After reading a book about the ‘Bangkok Hilton’ (another infamous prison in Bangkok), PSV head coach Dick Advocaat invited his players to visit the prison on Friday morning. During the past three World Cups, teams made up of international inmates kicked off their very own international football tournament -- the World Cup Behind Bars. Dutchman Machiel Kuijt was one of the inmates for many years. At the moment, there are no Dutch prisoners in the Klong Prem Central Prison, said the managing director at the start of the tour.
Football match against the inmates
Klong Prem´s football team, consisting of fourteen players, played a practice match for the Dutch visitors, including the first-team squad, members of the board, PSV Media and other club officials. Then PSV were invited to play a game of football. Two teams were made up, with, among other players, Zanka, Nigel Bertrams, Memphis Depay, Jürgen Locadia, Menno Koch, Zakaria Bakkali, Marcel Ritzmaier, Jorrit Hendrix and team doctor Rolf Timmermans, while the other players and many prisoners were enthusiastic spectators. It was a very special event visibly appreciated by the inmates. After two games, with the final scores of 1-0 and 1-1, the PSV party were given a guided tour around the prison. The managing director first gave a short introduction and answered questions from the players before the gates of the Klong Prem prison were opened.
A guided tour around the prison
The visitors aw small cells, with one toilet, shared by 30 inmates, a study and the library. The players had been given instructions about how to behave. Mobile phones and potential weapons, such as pens, and money had to be left at the main prison gate. After a two-hour tour, the players were out in the fresh air again. The visit to the prison was an extremely impressive experience. The squad will train on Thai soil for the last time on Friday afternoon before they travel back to the Netherlands.
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