Trio seem to have been forgotten (March 12, 2008)


A few weeks before the December general election, Suree Sukha, Kiatprawut Saiwaew and Teerasil Dangda signed with English Premiership club Manchester City at a Bangkok hotel.

It was a big event which attracted hundreds of Thais and journalists although some of them were apparently more interested in political issues rather than the sporting matter.

City coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was assigned by club chairman Thaksin Shinawatra to sign the three Thailand internationals.

They became the first Thai players on the books of a Premiership side. Their future looked bright but it has become uncertain since the People Power party (PPP) won the election.

It seems that nobody cares to look after them after the "mission" was complete with the PPP, which backs Thaksin, now leading a coalition government.

Since returning to Thailand after a 17-month self-imposed exile last month, Thaksin has been so busy fighting corruption charges that he has had no time to talk to the trio or assign his aides to take care of them.

Mr Frank,as Thaksin is affectionately called by City fans, has had several things to do in Thailand including visiting temples to do merits.

As president of the Professional Golf Association of Thailand, he seems more interested in golf than football at the moment. He has played a couple of rounds of golf since his homecoming.

When the Big Boss,as Thaksin is dubbed by the Thai press, has no time for football, it does not only affect the three players but also his club.

City, a contender for a Champions League spot early in the season, have been suffering one of their worst spells of this term since Thaksin returned to Thailand.

The Blues have gone three matches without a win including a 2-0 defeat at relegation strugglers Reading on Saturday and could miss out on a Uefa Cup berth.

In perhaps an attempt to limit damage, Thaksin plans to return to England to watch his team play League Cup champions Spurs at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday.

The presence of their chairman should be a boost for City players who may be able to stop the rot with win over Tottenham and put the club back on track for a Uefa Cup spot.

As for Suree, Kiatprawut and Teerasil, they soon found that the road to Manchester was not rosy shortly after their signings.

They were not paid by City until recently after the anti-Thaksin newspapers reported the matter.

Initially, right-back Suree was expected to receive a work permit from Britain's Home Office. But at it turned out, their applications were all rejected for the obvious reason they are not good enough.

Their plight did not end there. At first they only got tourist visas to Switzerland before Suree and Teerasil received work permits and flew to Switzerland at the weekend.

Kiatprawut s future is uncertain. It is reported that the Zurich side do not want him because he has a health problem which means that he can't train too hard.

The centreback has not yet received a work permit and may have to go to Belgium's Club Brugge instead.

The future of Suree and Teerasil does not look any brighter. Playing for Grasshopper Zurich is not too bad for Thai players.

But it is unclear whether they are there as registered players or players on trial.

In fact, everything about the three players has been unclear since the PPP won the election and formed a government.

There is a Thai saying that goes After ploughing the rice field, you kill your buffaoes. After a war, you kill your commanders meaning that you kill people who work for you after they have finished the job for you.

Good luck, Suree, Teerasil and Kiatprawut. Looking on the bright side, they each still get 2,000 a month from Man City even if they do not play and do nothing.