The three star-studded foreign teams participating in the annual tournament at Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium are Slovakia, Gabon and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Thailand, who will be defending their title at the prestigious event, have called up goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan (OH Leuven, Belgium) and J1 League players Teerasil Dangda (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Theerathon Bunmathan (Vissel Kobe) and Chanathip Songkrasin (Consadole Sapporo) for the tournament.
While the team are loaded with SCG Muang Thong United players, there was no place on the roster for the club’s regular starters Charyl Chappuis, Tristan Do and injured striker Adisorn Promrak.
Buriram United also have a big presence in the team, with young prodigy Supachok Sarachart retaining his place in the side.
Slovakia, No.28 in the Fifa rankings, will be led by Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik and former Liverpool player Martin Skrtel.
Gabon, No.95, will be skippered by Arsenal striker Pierre-Emeric Aubameyang and also have Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina Rena, while the UAE (No.78) are spearheaded by former Asian player of the year Omar Abdulrahman and Ahmed Khalil.
Gen Somyot Poompunmuang, president of the Football Association of Thailand, told a news conference on Thursday: “Our goal is to defend the title after winning it for the past two years in a row.
“This year’s King's Cup will take place during the Fifa break and world rankings are at stake for the participating teams so we can expect some exciting games.”
Rajevac said all the teams taking part in the event are strong sides, making it “a good learning experience for the Thais”.
He added: “Gabon have improved a lot and are loaded with good players from European leagues, like Aubameyang.
“Slovakia are one of the top teams in Europe with players like Marek Hamsik, Martin Skrtel and Vladimir Weiss who have the experience of playing in the top leagues.
“The UAE are also among the leading teams in Asia and have some exceptionally talented players.
“However, we will be playing at our home ground, so we are ready to face them. I am fancying a final with Slovakia.”
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