Veteran striker calls time after 15 years (October 04, 2007)

Thailand's former captain Kiatisak ''Zico'' Senamuang made an emotional farewell to his football fans last night in his testimonial match which saw Thailand draw 1-1 with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Supachalasai stadium yesterday.

Kiatisak came on with 25 minutes to go and within 10 minutes had played a key role in Thailand's goal, setting up Pipat Tonkanya to score a tap-in to make it 1-0.

UAE managed to equalise through Nawaf Mubarak Musabeh late in the game.

Although last night's match was a warm-up for Thailand's World Cup qualifying match against Macau, the evening was really all about Kitisak, 34, who has served Thailand so brilliantly for the last 15 years and proved an inspiration to so many young players.

A good crowd turned up to show their appreciation of Kiatisak and the whole evening witnessed a festive mood.

During the interval, there was a presentation for Kiatisak featuring senior members of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and former players.

President of the FAT, Worawi Makudi was full of praise for the long-serving Thai striker.

''We wanted him to continue playing for the national team but he decided to quit and we respect his decision,'' said Worawi. ''He is a fine example to young footballers. He was very consistent and played in a sporting manner throughout his career.''

After the match, Kiatisak said he was so proud to have played for the Thai national team for the past 15 years.

''I would like to thank the FAT for giving the opportunity for an upcountry boy from Khon Kaen to play for the national team,'' he said. ''I have enjoyed my career to the full. Football has taken me to many countries and it has been a great experience.''

Kiatisak spent a year with English football league side Huddersfield Town and in the later years played his football in Vietnam.

Kiatisak said he would like to eventually coach the Thai national team.

''I will not forget all the people that came here tonight to show their support,'' he said. ''It is a great honour for me.''