Thais to parade their second team
KUANTAN: Thailand are here for the second Asean Futsal Championship, which begins at the Sukpa Indoor Stadium today, with their second team.
The only player they retained from the team who finished as the runners-up in the Plate competition of the KL World 5s is Anucha Munjarern.
The other first-team players have been kept at home to prepare for the Asian Championship, which will be held in Teheran at the end of the month.
Thai manager Adisak Benjasiriwan said that they had also brought along 17-year-old Jadet Punpoem here for exposure because they intended to field a team of youth and experience in the Asian tournament.
“A lot will depend on how the second team players perform in the Asean meet. If they shine and do well, we will include them in the squad for Teheran,” said Adisak.
Adisak picked Malaysia, who finished as the champions of the Bowls competition in the KL World 5s, as the strong contenders for the title.
“Malaysia have the same team and they will be hard to beat,” he said.
Malaysia will be up against Thailand in the opening day's action of the championships.
Malaysian coach Silvio Sergio Machado still thinks that Thailand are good to reach the final with their second stringers.
“The Thais are seasoned and experienced. They have been in Futsal for a long time while we are beginners ... learning the tricks of the trade,” said the Brazilian.
“Our participation in the KL tournament was an experience playing at the highest level and we came off richer in experience. We have to build on this and take the game further.”
Meanwhile, team manager Bahwandi Hiralal, is upset over the absence of key player Chiew Chun Yong, who has not been granted leave by his employers in Penang to play in the tournament.
“It is sad. Employers should take pride in their employees carrying the country's challenge instead of stopping them,” said the former international.
Bahwandi hopes that Chun Yong will be available for Asian championship.
“The meet here is also part of our preparations for the Asian championships. We need the best players to carry Malaysia's challenge in Teheran,” he said.
Besides Malaysia and Thailand, the other teams in the Asean tournament are Cambodia, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia.
4pm: Cambodia vs Brunei.
6pm: Philippines vs Indonesia.
8pm: Malaysia vs Thailand.