Thunder could run away with TPL title (24/04/2011)

Buriram PEA are the only unbeaten team in the Thai Premier League this term. Following their fast start to the season, the Thunder Castle are hot favourites to win their first-ever league crown.

This is only their second season under the name Buriram PEA. They were champions a few years ago when they were Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and based in Ayutthaya.

Political heavyweight Newin Chidchob took over the club last year and moved them to his home province in the Northeast.

Buriram PEA finished second in the TPL last season and Newin has vowed to steer them to the title this year. They also finished second in the League Cup last season.

Many journalists believe this could be Buriram PEA's year although there is still a long way to go.

Buriram began this season with an impressive 2-1 win over title contenders BEC Tero Sasana. They have beaten Chonburi FC 3-0 and earned a scoreless draw at defending champions Muang Thong United.

Their only setback so far has been a 1-1 home draw with Insee Police United.

Why the Thunder have been on fire this season?

Football writer Komkrit Napalai of Komchadluek newspaper, said: "Buriram PEA have a squad good enough to win the TPL this season. They have several good local and foreigners and receive good support from their chairman [Newin]."

Their new signings Franck Ohandza of Cameroon and Frank Ancheampong from Ghana have formed one of the most lethal strike forces in the league.

"Our foreign players are really good. We did not just sign foreign players because they are foreigners," said Newin.

Ancheampong is a highly-rated player. He has feautred in his country's Olympic team and is dubbed "Ghana's Messi".

Other new players have also played well including midfielder Jakkaphan Kaewprom who moved from Muang Thong United to his native province.

In the heart of their defence is Teerathorn Boonmathan. He is a member of the Thai Olympic (U23) team and is expected to be a future star for the full national team.

Club captain Suchao Nutnum and Rangsan Vivatchaichoke have also been in good form.

Their goalkeeper Sivaluck Therdsungnern may be ranked behind Muang Thong's Kawin Thammastachanan and Chonburi's Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool but he has kept a clean sheet for 630 minutes.

He last conceded a goal in Buriram's 1-1 draw with Insee Police United.

Buriram have one of the country's best coaches in Attapol Bussapakom, and it was Muang Thong who gave Buriram a leathal weapon.

Attapol guided Muang Thong to win their first-ever TPL title two years ago. The Kirins then surprisingly moved Attapol upstairs. When Attapol received an offer from Buriram, he quit Muang Thong.

Buriram PEA are building a new stadium. With a capacity of 24,000, it will be the biggest privately-owned stadium in Thailand.

It is expected to be complete in June and Newin plans to officially open it with a bang by inviting English Premier League side Arsenal and Championship club Leicester to play there.

Surely, Newin has played the most vital role in Buriram's rise. He cannot take part in political activities (at least in public) because he is serving a five-year ban from politics so he has time to stay with the team.

But as the election is drawing near, Newin may have to help his associates (certainly not in public) and may not have time to look after the club so it is interesting to see how Buriram will fare during that period .

Source :