Thailand keep eye on high ball (January 30, 2007)



TOR CHITTINAND

Thailand's national team left for Singapore yesterday to prepare for tomorrow's first leg of the Asean Championship final.


Thailand coach Charnwit Phalajivin said he had told his players to be wary of Singapore's aerial attacks in the match.


"It will not be an easy game for the team," he said.


"We must be careful with the high ball from them, especially when it is directed to their strikers."


Charnwit said he expected the National Stadium to provide a hostile backdrop.


"It will be like playing Vietnam in Hanoi in the first leg of the semi-final," said Charnwit.


"We will be playing under pressure with thousands of people at the stadium."


Datsakorn Thonglao, Kittisak Rawangpa and Nirut Surasiang are doubtful for the game through injury.


The return leg takes place in Bangkok on Sunday.


On the domestic front, the new season of the Thailand Premier League kicks off on March 17 with 16 teams chasing a first place prize of 10 million baht.


The PTT-sponsored league will be played on a home-and-away basis and four teams will be relegated at the end of the season.


It is also supported by the government through the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) to the tune of 27.5 million baht.


The runners-up will get three million, third place will receive two million, fourth place takes one million while fifth spot earns 500,000 baht.


The 16 teams that will participate in the Thailand Premier League are defending champions Bangkok University, Osotspa M-150, BEC Tero Sasana, Tobacco Monopoly, Bangkok Bank, Royal Thai Army, Port, Chonburi, Krung Thai Bank, Thai Honda FC, Suphanburi, Royal Thai Police, Royal Thai Navy, TOT and Nakhon Pathom.

The opening match will be the Army against BEC Tero Sasana at the Army stadium on March 17. Matches will be played every Wednesday and Saturday.