Lao-American Denied A Chance To Play..

After hearing the news about Anthony Sakounthong, I was angry but not surprise by the politic in Laos.  A year or two ago, Lao government made an announcement to invite all laotian athletics for a chance to try out and participate in up coming SEA Games.  Laos will be hosting SEA Games for the very first time in December of 2009.

In the interview, it was confirmed that soccer players from Canada, USA, Germany and Japan went back to Laos for a tryout.  The two brothers from Germany and Anthony made the team.  Anthony spend the past 10 months training in Laos for up coming SEA games.  He gave up 10 months of college for a chance to play in SEA games for his motherland.  Then comes to find out, he will not be able to participate due to his American citizenship.  They made an effort to gave him dual citizens in order for him to play for Laos.  After all the troubles, Laos told him he is cut from the team even though they all knows the kid have lots of talent.  I can only feels the disappointment by him and his families are going through.

What’s the point of inviting all these athletics back to Laos for a tryout and never give the chance at all?

Here are 2 parts interview videos.


13 thoughts on “Lao-American Denied A Chance To Play..

  1. konlao_USA

    Bad reporting!! She doesn’t ask the right questions leading up to this. Inform your listeners with some background….
    Anthony is not permitted because he is NOT 100% Lao, or because he is a US citizen? Was he born in US or born in Laos and later became a US citizen?
    Also, what happened to the 2 brothers from Germany, were they also REJECTED, were they born in Germany or born in Laos? If Anthony was rejected..then they too should be rejected. But then again if this were the policy, why even make a “plee to all Laotians abroad??”

    Having this information helps listeners/viewers get a better understanding of the background.

    I am shocked to here that he is rejected for being an American citizen. So what was the point of the Laos government calling on all Laotians residing in foreign countries to come and try-out for the national team? I thought the Laos PM approved Anthony’s Laotian citizenship for this event?

    Also Like you..i am NOT surprised by the decision to DENY this young man from playing based on the reason given. NOTE – we have not heard or seen a statement from the Laos government or “soccer committee…”

    If he is not qualifed that’s one thing. He claims he is…and that they initially wanted him to play.

    What’s the real reason behind it? Pressure from Vietnam, maybe? Anthony is an “American?”

    For those who don’t know the history..America bombed the heck out of Laos and also there was a Vietnam/US war…..

    Stupid policy…! If there are any Laotians from abroad that are there to compete and “help” Laos….you should all withdraw and go back “home!”

    1. seeharhed Post author

      konlao USA, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. I’ve been doing some research on this particular story and nothing coming out of Laos regarding this situation. Although I came across an article from Vietnamese newspaper, they speaks highly of Anthony soccer skills.

      I’m not sure if Laos were pressure by Vietnam or maybe Laos violated SEA Games rules by having Anthony on the team. I don’t know!!

      I’ll try to update this story if I find anymore information.

  2. Nye

    That is so unfair especially for Anthony, that’s opportunity loss for him, they should have made that determination at the very beginning of his qualification (unless if it’s drug related and is disqualified), and not right before the game. I think it’s just bad communicating, this made me think of “Lao time,” what kind of message are they sending to people?

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Nye, I really don’t know the main reason why they cut him. I also think it might be communication issues among the team members. Perhaps, the rest of the team feels threaten by Anthony and 2 other kids from Germany.

      It is pretty bad message they are sending out to all laotians living aboard. Why are they even bother to advertise to invite all laotian athletics from other countries to represent Laos? I’m not sure how many athletics from US/Canada/European countries.

      Sakounthong family wasted lots of time and $$$. I guess the family already purchased round trip tickets to go cheers for their son.

  3. Dallas

    The report was not as informative as I would like.
    So Anthony can not play in the SEA game but he is still on the team. That is what I understood.

    I think Anthony did mention or maybe his father said it that someone name MA-NO from Germany was also a good player just like Anthony. But it was not clear if that person was also not allowed to play in the SEA game as well.

    I think Laos jump the gun on giving out the dual citizenship. It may have violated the SEA game rules. I am saying this because he is still on the team, his name is still on the national team, but he just not allow to play in SEA game.

    So far we know the coach didn’t treat him very kindly. Maybe the other players might act the same way toward him. These factors might prevent him from playing. There is no cohesiveness between him and the rest of the team. But my original assumption might be the real reason.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Hi Dallas, I have to agree with you that the reporter was not as informative. I’m not if it is face to face interview, but sounds like it might be a phone interview. Lots of cut and paste.

      Yes, Anthony is still remain in the national team roster but can not play in the SEA games. For what reasons, it is unclear at this point. But, I think Anthony is back in Seattle after being told he can’t play. At this point, I think Sakounthong family deserve an explanation why he is not allow to play. The answer should come down from Mr. Langsavath himself, whom granted Anthony Lao citizenship.

      It is unclear at this point if Mano from Germany is still with the team or was told the same. I also think there is no cohesive between the rest of team members. Many of members of the team might feels that these 3 kids aren’t paying their dues. It would be nice to hear the Lao National Team side of stories, but I doubt it if anything will come out of Laos.

      1. Konlao_USA

        How can Lao realize that they may have violated SEA game rules by inviting capable Laotians to come participate? They are the host country..they should know all the rules…and its NOT like this is Laos’ first year in SEA games?

        True..I think native Laotian players (sons of rich and powerful Laotians) were threatened by Anthony and Mano (Germany). So those guys complained to their parents who had friends in high places..and perhaps forced the coach to DENY the “foreign” kids from playing with the national team.

  4. Konlao_USA

    More SEA game news…

    A couple months ago I heard the Laos government will invite Lao-British tennis player Anne Keothavong (ranked #1 in UK) to compete in the SEA games.

    I hope she hears about Anthony’s story and declines the offer to play for Laos!

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Konlao_USA, regarding Anne #1 rank tennis from UK will not be participate in up coming SEA Games. Earlier this year, there are some rumors she will be playing for Laos. Shortly after, she came out and said she will not be playing in SEA Games. Also, during that time she was injured and probably contracts with her sponsors doesn’t allow her to participate in these kind of events.

      I wonder if Bob, who played double badminton at Beijing Summer Olympic for the US will be playing for Laos. Did he also got the invite too? I don’t know!! It is so hard to get any news from Laos, nothing official I meant.

  5. anthony

    Hey everyone this is Anthony Sakounthong, ive read the comments and the questions that were asked, and i can seriously provide an answer for each and every question.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Hello Anthony, I’m glad you found my blog and perhaps you can shed some light to this topic. Please feel free to tell your side of story, I’m sure lots of reader will be interest to hear about what really happened.

      Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to hear from you soon.

  6. Vinanh

    wow, that is so konlao. nothing will ever changed. if it is against the sea game’s rule they shouldnt advertise all over the places so that people in third world country to come out for tryout. after go through all of that and been told cant participate for no good reason it is just sad.


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