Cambodia official criticizes Thai footballer for throwing away SEA Games medal

By Vinh San   May 17, 2023 | 10:32 pm PT
An official from the Cambodian Ministry of Information has asked the Thailand football federation to "educate" one of its players after photos of him throwing the SEA Games silver medal towards fans were shared online.

Chum Kosal, secretary of state of the ministry, wrote on Facebook that the player was losing his character and "disrespecting the host too much."

"Medals and tokens representing the SEA Games event offered to this athlete are a huge honor, not everyone gets it," the post read. "Thai football federation should educate this player."

Khemdee ném huy chương SEA Games lên khán đài.

A screenshot from a Facebook post shows Jonathan Khemdee throw his SEA Games 32 silver medal towards the stand of the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 16, 2023.

The post included three photos showing Thailand's center-back Jonathan Khemdee throwing his silver medal and SEA Games mascot towards fans at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, after his team lost to Indonesia in the SEA Games final on Tuesday night.

Khemdee explained that he threw them as gifts to a fan, but not many were convinced.

Dr. Yong Pov, Secretary General of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told the Khmer Times: "This should not be done, it should be worth the price of the opponent."

Before the final, Khemdee had announced that he would take a break from the Thai national team for a while. The 21-year-old Danish born player said he wanted to focus on playing for his current club - Ratchaburi FC.

Khemdee tuyên bố trận chung kết với Indonesia là lần cuối anh khoác áo Thái Lan. Ảnh: Hiếu Lương

Jonathan Khemdee reacts to referee Kassem Matar Al-Hatmi after Thailand conceded the second goal in their SEA Games final with Indonesia, May 16, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong

The final of SEA Games 32 men's football concluded on Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory of Indonesia over Thailand, and was arguably the most dramatic final in the tournament’s history, which was marred by two mass brawls.

Indonesia were leading 2-1 when Thailand's Yotsakorn Burapha scored just before the final whistle. The Thai players and coaching staff then provoked Indonesia, which set off a brawl on the pitch.

When Indonesia’s Irfan Jauhari made it 3-2 in extra time, his team provoked Thailand which led to a second melee.

Thai football bosses have apologized for the chaos.

The Asian Football Confederation is set to investigate before issuing monetary fines and suspension for players and staff involved on both sides.

The two mass brawls at the SEA Games 32 men's football final between Thailand and Indonesia, May 16, 2023.

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