Lao Floorball Pioneers Aim to Inspire New Generation of Players

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(Photo: Emanuel Lakongseng)

The Vientiane Floorball Team made a resounding debut in the recent 2023 Bangkok Floorball Tournament on 5 November, securing an impressive second place in their division, surpassing teams from Singapore and Thailand.

“After falling behind already in the first minute, to come turn the game around and get the win was huge,” said Emanuel Lakongseng, a passionate Vientiane floorball team player. 

The Vientiane Floorball Club gathers once a week for practice sessions and friendly matches. The club takes pride in its roster of regular Lao players and provides financial support for their participation in international tournaments.

“In Vientiane, we are practicing on a much smaller court, so to be able to do that against a team playing where they train every week really sets the tone for the rest of the weekend,” Emanuel added.

Reflecting on the latest Bangkok tournament, he also acknowledged the unfamiliar surface compared to their usual concrete training ground.

Floorball, a form of floor hockey originating in Sweden during the 1960s, was introduced to Laos in 2004 by Finnish expatriates. It holds popularity in numerous northern European nations and was included in the Southeast Asian Games only in 2015.

“We will, for sure, continue to attend the annual Bangkok tournament,” said Emanuel. “Another dream is to have enough female players to be able to send a women’s team to join in Bangkok as well.”

He further expressed his enthusiasm for the promising future of Lao floorball, emphasizing that 2024 holds exciting prospects for this sport. 

“We are planning to have a street floorball tournament for students in grades 9 and 10 next year,” he said. “[Our] dream is to see a Lao Floorball Federation established, to provide children and youth with another sports option, and to have a Lao team compete at the SEA Games in 2025 where Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam”