As I've pointed out before, I think the failure in Laos last year didn't give him the option. He had to send the best team, and to go as coach to achieve the minimum target (QF stage), which meant tiring out key players and having minimal time with the NT.
That's the key. There's no way he would have been allowed to send a weakened team to China (effectively saying "this competition isn't a priority for us) after Laos 2009.
Right. Perhaps now that being relieved of the burden of being multiple defending SEA Games champions will allow Thailand to prioritise properly. They should be focussing more on the bigger tournaments.
The SEA Games should be used as a building block for the U-23s to prepare for Asian Games and in the long-term Olympic qualifying. I like the approach the Korean & Japanese took to the Asian Games, picking young squads that would still be eligible in 2012 for the Olympics. After 8 consecutive SEA titles, Thailand would be justified in taking this approach to that tournament.
If Thailand want ASEAN bragging rights, then the AFF Cup is the tournament to focus on. Although similarly, I'd like FAT to use the AFF Cup as preparation for Asian Cup qualification and progress, and eventually World Cup qualification