MANAGER FOCUS : SUTEE ALL OVER THE WORLD (15 August 2009)
All over the world including Australia , England and even in USA everybody saw Sutee Suksomkit play a one-two with Teerasil and smash the ball into the Liverpool net. He ran to the corner flag and the cheering crowds and the genuine pride could be seen all over his face. He had scored against one of the best football teams in the world and we had got a draw against them. Many people and I even hear the bookmakers in England, had predicted a landslide victory for Liverpool , but this squad of players showed they had the character and strength to match it with the elite and come from a goal behind to get a draw.
The national team had warmed up for this game with a game against Pakistan where we did as we should have, and won 4-0and even the U23s the nucleus of the SEA Games 2009 team beat the full Pakistan team 2-0. The SEA Games squad is still not finalized and I will be looking for players born in 1986 or later to fill the remaining few places in the squad. Itís looking a strong squad already with national team regulars Teerasil, Ronnachai, Kiataprawut, Arthtit and Kawin, all of the SEA games age. The final preparations for this team will take place in late October and early November when they will go to Hanoi to try to retain the T and T Cup.
Also in late October the national team will make a visit to the south of Thailand as part of the Presidents program to take the game and the national team to all parts of the country. I believe this is a tremendous concept with the response from the fans being the true indicator of the fame of some of our players.
Another new initiative by the FAT was the introduction of Thai players who have been born overseas. Many nations such as Vietnam and Singapore have given citizenship to foreigners so that they can play for the country, but Thailand has refused to do this and believes only people who have true Thai heritage can represent the country. Peter Lange who has a Thai mother and a Swiss father is the first player to come in under this program and his performance against Pakistan and Liverpool show that the 23 year old who has represented Switzerland at every level from U15 to U21 has made the right choice when he chose to be a Thai international. I think there may well be more players of Thai heritage in European leagues and we are continuing to check our sources.
Finally congratulations to Surat Sukha who has joined the ever growing list of Thai players earning lucrative salaries abroad with his move to Melbourne Victory in the A league. The Thai Premier league is making massive improvements and I and my staff love going to the games in this league, but the economics of football always means that top players will be lured away. But it is a sign that the Thai league is a great breeding ground for players. And the league is getting better by the week. I just wish the pitches could match the quality of the fans enthusiasm and the playerís technique!
Another exciting period of Thai football has just passed and everything is looking good for the future of the game here.