PHUKET: The head coach of Thailand’s national football team hasn’t taken World Cup aspirations off the table, but right now, it’s time to focus on the Asian Games, he told the Phuket Gazette yesterday.
“Everybody in Thailand wants to see a Thai team in the World Cup. We are committed to making this happen, but in order to do so, Thai football clubs should be training their players with the Thai national football team in mind. If there are good players available, it’s easier to build a strong national team,” said national team Head Coach Kiatisuk “Zico” Senamuang.
Thailand’s National U-23 Team is in Phuket for a two-week training camp at the British International School Phuket (BISP) football facilities in preparation for the Asian Games in South Korea next month.
The abilities of the players will be put to the test during the three friendly matches against Myanmar, Phuket FC and Qatar in Phuket Town on August 31, September 3 and September 7 respectively.
“Our players will have an opportunity to show off their skills, while it’s an opportunity for me to spot any problems and fix them before we get to South Korea,” Zico said.
“I want our players to show us their potential, but I honestly don’t have high expectations for the results of these matches.”
The team chose to train in Phuket so that locals would have the opportunity to meet the the players.
“Last year we trained in Chaing Mai. I want local people to meet the Thai football team, and we want to motivate children to play football,” Zico said.
Thai youth shouldn’t lack inspiration, as their national team has secured a record number of five gold medals at the SEA Games.
Tickets for the upcoming friendly games in Phuket Town are 200 baht for normal seating and 500 baht for VIP seating. All games kick off at 6:30pm.
— Woranut Pechdee