Thailand kick off Olympic qualifiers without No 1 keeper (23/02/2011)

National coach Chanwit Pholcheewin yesterday tried to play down the significance of firstchoice goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan's mysterious absence from the Olympic squad's preparation for the firstround qualifier against Palestine today.

The Thais trained on the eve of the match, to be held at Supachalasai stadium, without the Muang Thong United player, leaving Chanwit with only one keeper.

Muang Thong coach Carlos Carvalho, who was at training yesterday, said the national keeper was nursing a wrist injury but would join the Thai squad for the second leg.

Chanwit, however, said he was happy with the players at his disposal and would have no qualms in fielding the littleknown Ugkrit Wongmeena between the posts.

"I have already talked with Muang Thong about Kawin. I'll inform them later that he will be on the bench for the game.

"I want to move forward on the issue, as I don't want any distraction from what is an important game for us," said Chanwit.

However, team manager Kasem Jariyawatwong did not rule out Kawin's chances of playing in the match, as he felt the Thais needed to establish a healthy advantage ahead of the return leg.

"Ugkrit is nursing a bruised hip. We had no choice but to field him first because Kawin didn't train with team. However, should the inexperienced Ugkrit aggravate his injury or show nerves, we will call on Kawin.

"We need to win by at least two goals otherwise we will have a tough task in the second leg," said Kasem.

Worawi Makudi, the Football Association of Thailand president, who visited the training camp to lend his support to the squad, said he would not interfere in the Kawin issue.

"It's a matter for the coaching team to deal with.

"Anyway, we have to win tomorrow, and I believe we will, regardless of the Kawin issue."

NBT channel will broadcast the match live from 6 PM .

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