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No fearing Qatar, says Thai coach

ASIAN GAMES: Thailand coach Worrawoot Srimaka has rallied his troops to fight against Qatar in their opening match of the men’s football competition at the Asian Games in Indonesia tonight (Aug 14).

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 14 August 2018, 09:35AM

Thailand captain Chenrop Samphaodi (front) and teammates take part in a training session yesterday (Aug 13). Photo: via Bangkok Post

Thailand captain Chenrop Samphaodi (front) and teammates take part in a training session yesterday (Aug 13). Photo: via Bangkok Post

In today’s other Group B game, Asian U23 champions Uzbekistan face Bangladesh.

The winners and runners-up of each group and four best third-placed teams will qualify for the round of 16.

On paper, Qatar are heavy favourites against the War Elephants but Worrawoot said they are “not fearsome”.

“Are Qatar fearsome? For me, not so. I have told my players that although Qatar is a very rich country, they, like Thailand, have never reached the World Cup finals. So they are not much different from Thailand,” the coach said.

“Qatar are not Iran or Saudi Arabia who have played at the World Cup several times. So we do not have to fear them. It depends on who will be sharper on the pitch. We have to fight ourselves.”

Worrawoot, who guided Thailand to the SEA Games title last year, said his players are ready for Qatar.

“I already have the starting line-up for the game against Qatar in my mind. I want the players to only focus and concentrate on their own game,” he said.

“I believe that we can play a close game with every team in this competition.”

The War Elephants are led by captain and striker Chenrop Samphaodi of SCG Muang Thong United and Buriram United midfielder Supachok Sarachat.

Although Thailand have never won a medal in Asian Games football, they finished in fourth place four times with the latest one being at Incheon 2014 after losing to Iraq in the third-place play-off. They also reached the semi-finals in 1990, 1998 and 2002.

The men’s football tournament at the Asian Games is a U23 competition that allows each country to field three overage players.

QSI International School Phuket

Worrawoot did not call up a single overage player saying he wanted to give youngsters opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Football Association of Thailand yesterday (Aug 13) announced its 20-strong women’s squad for the Asian Games.

US-based forward Suchawadee Nildhamrong (Miranda Nild), who is studying at and playing for the University of California, Berkeley, is returning to help the Chaba Kaew.

The other players include captain and defender Sunisa Srangthaisong, Rattikan Thongsombut, midfielder Taneekarn Dangda, and striker Kanjana Sung-Ngoen.

However, goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing won’t travel to Indonesia as she is nursing an injury.

The Chaba Kaew are in Group C with Japan and Vietnam.

In Group A are hosts Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and the Maldives, while Group B features North Korea, China, Hong Kong and Tajikistan.

The top three teams of Group A and Group B advance to the knockout stages as do the top two sides of Group C.

The Thais will meet 2011 world champions Japan on Thursday (Aug 16) and face 2017 SEA Games winners Vietnam on Sunday (Aug 19) with both games scheduled to kick off at 6:30pm (Thai time).

Like their men's compatriots, the Chaba Kaew have never won a medal at the Asian Games. However, they played at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and have qualified for the 2019 finals.

Read original story here.



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