Dr Jozak visited Phuket this week as the guest of Thanyapura football head coach, Steve Wallace, to discuss training camps and friendly matches on the island for youth and full national teams.
Even though the 2018 World Cup in Russia is still fresh in the memory, the road to Qatar 2022 takes shape next week, with the draw for the AFC second qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur on April 17.
With the first round of knockout qualifying games already set for June, the six winners over two legs will then join the top 34 ranked nations in the region for group play in September, where Kuwait could potentially be up against the likes of Australia, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
As part of their preparations, Jozak is leaving nothing to chance. There is a strong possibility that one or more of Kuwait’s group stage opponents will be from the SEA region, and he sees Thanyapura and Phuket as the right place to acclimatise to the conditions and prepare his team for such important games.
New Zealand national team head coach, Fritz Schmid, will also visit later this month, and it is meetings such as these that give Wallace hope that Phuket can become a place where football can gain higher visibility over time.
“One of my objectives is to try to bring some teams here so that that young players on the island can be inspired to play and improve. For all of the football that can be seen on TV, there’s no substitute for watching international players train in person or seeing them in a live game, both of which I’ll look to facilitate for local kids.”
Chelsea FC coaches will be in Phuket next week as part of the sold-out Player Development Project. During their stay, Thanyapura will host almost 200 Phuket children from local clubs and schools for free football clinics.
David Monk, Chelsea’s Senior International Development Officer, is looking forward to the week.
“I’m very happy that we have the opportunity to collaborate with Thanyapura on a free CSR event to give something back to local players, which is a key part of our club ethos”.