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Thai footballers face herculean task in Asian Games

ASIAN GAMES: The Thai U23 football team will face an uphill battle in the upcoming Asian Games, officials said yesterday (Aug 7).

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 8 August 2018, 10:22AM

FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang (seated second right) and Thailand U23 coach Worrawoot Srimaka (seated third right) pose with Asian Games-bound players yesterday (Aug 7). Photo: via Bangkok Post

FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang (seated second right) and Thailand U23 coach Worrawoot Srimaka (seated third right) pose with Asian Games-bound players yesterday (Aug 7). Photo: via Bangkok Post

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) has named an initial 29-player squad, which will be cut to 20 ahead of the tournament.

Only 16 players, led by SCG Muang Thong United striker Chenrop Samphaodi, reported to the training camp at Bangkokthonburi University yesterday as several stars failed to show up citing various reasons.

Players from Buriram United, Chiang Rai United, Chonburi and Ubon UMT will join the team tomorrow (Aug 9) after their club duties in the League Cup quarter-finals tonight (Aug 8).

Port goalkeeper Rattanai Songsangchan is out injured and Thailand U23 coach Worrawoot Srimaka has called up Chainat’s Anusit Termmee.

Jakkrit Wechpirom of FC Tokyo said he has personal matters to deal with while Porramet Arjvilai of Muang Thong United reported sick.

Swedish-Thai left-back Kewin Deeromram, another Port player, is in Sweden to see his ill grandmother and it is unclear whether he will be able to return to Thailand in time for the Asian Games.

The Games are scheduled for Aug 18-Sept 2 with the men’s football competition kicking off on Friday (Aug 10).

Worrawoot admitted that he does not have a left-back with two other players, who play in that position, nursing injury.

The football tournament at the Asian Games is for players aged under 23 with each team allowed to have three overage players.

Worrawoot said he did not call up overage players since he wanted to give opportunities to youngsters.

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At the Asian Games, Thailand are in Group B along with Uzbekistan, Qatar and Bangladesh. They will open their campaign against Qatar on Tuesday (Aug 14).

The top two teams of each of the six groups and the four best third-placed sides advance to the knockout stages.

FAT technical chief Witthaya Laohakul said it would be very difficult for Thailand to repeat their performance at the previous tournament in 2014 when they finished fourth.

Judging from the fact that Thailand lost all their three games against Bahrain, South Korea and Myanmar in a recent warm-up tournament in Myanmar, the War Elephants still have a lot of weak points, he said.

“We lack quality players and have less preparing time,” said the former national team coach.

“We reached the semi-finals at the previous Asian Games so we should at least do it again or reach the final. But our problems are the quality of players and time to prepare the team. I have to admit that it will be a tough task, especially because we are in the same group as Uzbekistan and Qatar who are among the top teams in Asia.”

The Thai football team have advanced to the Asian Games semi-finals on four occasions but never won a medal.

The current team will play two warm-up games against Southern District RSA from Hong Kong in Chonburi today and against Nepal on Friday before Worrawoot names his 20 players for the Games.

Read original story here.



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