AFC Cup: Thai pair ready to overcome odds (26/05/2010)
Kuala Lumpur: Thailand newcomers Muangthong United and Thai Port are unfazed at being paired against formidable West Asian opponents in the 2010 AFC Cup quarter-finals.
MTU, conquerors of Qatari powerhouses Al Rayyan in the Round of 16, are pitted against last year's runners-up Al Karamah of Syria in the last eight while Thai Port will be crossing paths with Kuwaiti champions Al Qadsia.
Ambitious MTU General Manager Ronnarit Suewaja is looking forward to his self-titled “clash of the titans”.
“I am happy that we will be up against arguably the best team in this year’s competition. They are the championship favourites but I don't think we are a bad team either,” he told www.the-afc.com.
”If we want to emerge champions, we should not fear of anyone. I see this match as a good test to our title credential.”
Ronnarit is hoping that Al Karamah, AFC Champions League runners-up in 2006, will underestimate his team.
“Compared to them, we are very much a novice in this field. But it is good for us if they don't really care (about us).
”There are 14 Thailand national players plus three fantastic foreign imports from Africa in our team. In other words, if they want to beat us, they will need to beat virtually a Thai national team.”
Ronnarit also pointed out that his team have yet to be beaten at home.
“We are unbeaten from home since last season in any competitions. I am glad that we will play away first as I am extremely confident that we can beat anyone with any scoreline in our own Yamaha Stadium (formerly known as Thunderdome).”
Meanwhile, Thai Port General Manager Adebayo Gbadebo said he knows nothing about Al Qadsia but believes anything can happen in the knock-out stage.
“Al Qadsia are an unknown quality to us but in general, Kuwait football is one of the best in this continent and they should be respected,” he said. “However, we are well prepared for this encounter. We are ready to give them a big shock.”
Adebayo said his players are all determined to do well in their debut AFC Cup campaign.
“It is the first time for Thai Port to play in both domestic and continental competitions. I must admit that it takes a toll on the players but we are determined to excel.
“No one expected us to go this far but we managed to beat the odds. We want to go as far as we can and bring back glory to Thailand football.”