Worawi: Suzuki Cup win a must for Thailand (December 04, 2008)
Thailand must win the AFF Suzuki Cup to prove that they are still Southeast Asia's football powerhouses, the country's football chief said yesterday.
Thailand and Indonesia are co-hosting the biennial Asean championship, formerly known as the Tiger Cup.
The Thais are in Group B along with Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos. The Thailand leg, which has been moved from Bangkok to Phuket, will kick off on Saturday with the kingdom taking on Vietnam.
"We must think only about winning the title," said Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT).
"If we can't win the title, it will be a failure because we are kings of football in the region."
It will be Peter Reid's first competitive tournament as Thailand coach. He guided the Thais to win the T&T Cup in Vietnam last month.
Thailand and two-time defending champions Singapore have each won the tournament three times.
Worawi said if Thailand qualified for the semi-finals and final, both of which will be played on a home and away basis, the venue may be moved back to Bangkok.
The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) left Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports yesterday after occupying them for one week.
Thailand and Laos left Bangkok for Phuket by bus yesterday and Reid said a road trip to Phuket would affect his players.
"We understand the political situation. It will take around 12 hours to Phuket by coach. This will surely make the players feel tired," said Reid.
He said the Suzuki Cup was a very competitive tournament and every participating team wanted to win it.
"It will not be easy to win the tournament. But as the coach, I will do my best to take Thailand to win the title," he said.
The former England international said he was not afraid of Singapore who have several foreign players.
Yap Nyim Keong, an official of the Asean Football Federation (AFF), yesterday inspected Phangnga's main stadium and did not give approval to the venue which was originally scheduled for only one game.
The final group game between Vietnam and Laos will be played at either Krabi's main stadium or Songkhla's Tinsulanonda stadium.
Dec 6 - Laos v Malaysia (5pm); Thailand v Vietnam (7.30pm)
Dec 8 - Vietnam v Malaysia (5pm); Thailand v Laos (7.30pm)
Dec 10 - Laos v Vietnam (7.30pm); Thailand v Malaysia (7.30pm)
Note: All matches will be played at Surakul stadium in Phuket except Laos v Vietnam.