AFC Futsal Team of the Year: Chonburi Bluewave (26/11/13)

Kuala Lumpur: Chonburi Bluewave have won the AFC Futsal Team of the Year award in recognition of their victory in the 2013 AFC Futsal Club Championship.

Having failed to get beyond the group stage in the 2011 and 2012 tournaments, Chonburi emerged top of a tightly contested Group B after a 2-2 draw with Ardus of Uzbekistan was followed by an epic victory over defending champions Sanaye Giti Pasand, as the Thai side scored three times in the final three minutes to overturn a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3.

Suphawut Thueanklang scored a late winner as Chonburi recorded a hard-fought 3-2 win over Qatar’s Al Sadd before the talented 24-year-old struck twice as the five-time Thai champions put in a blistering first-half display to defeat Shenzhen Nanling 5-2 in the semi-final.

Chonburi renewed acquaintances with Giti Pasand in the final and just as it was looking like Hossein Tayabi’s fifth minute goal was enough for the Iranian to successfully defend their title Suphawut came to his club’s rescue by scoring a last minute equaliser before going on to score a penalty in the 4-1 shootout victory.

“I started Chonburi futsal club almost 12 years ago…and there were belief. We came very close to winning previously and we never give up. This is why we are receiving this award today,” Chonburi Bluewave President Adisak Benjasiriwan said after collecting the 2013 AFC Futsal Team of the Year award from Richard Lai, AFC Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the AFC Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee.

“Chonburi has invested lots of time, energy and resources into futsal and that’s why we have one of the top coaches and top-class players with us. They showed it in Japan which was a ‘dream come true’ moment for us.

“And tonight here in Kuala Lumpur we are getting the bonus of what we have done long ago in Thailand. It’s brilliant achievement.”