By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Naruphol, who was recently appointed by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) to replace Nuengrutai Srathongvian, plans to adopt a more aggressive approach in working with the national team who crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage in France last month. Nuengrutai and team’s manager Nualphan Lamsam resigned after the Thais were eliminated from the tournament.
“We will elevate the playing style by making it more entertaining and exciting,” said the new coach. “The old format is good but we will come up with a style that suits our players more.”
Thailand has won the regional football tournament, which runs from August 15-27, four times, in 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018. They have been drawn in group A with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Timor Leste.
“Women’s football has improved in each of these countries. The recent World Cup showed that several teams in Europe have improved significantly. So have teams in Asia and Asean like Vietnam and the Philippines. We cannot underestimate them and we have to do our best in the tournament,” the Thai boss said.
Despite his plan to bring more younger players to the team, which is currently made up of several members in their late 20s and early 30s, Naruphol says the older players will be kept on if they prove physically tough.
“There are some U19 players that I want to recruit for the team. But it will be more competitive [to get into the national team]. Young players who can follow our directions, playing style and tactics will be selected. However, age doesn’t matter. If they can run and fit in, they deserve to play for the country,” he added.
The national team will be encamped at Kiarti Thanee Country Club before the announcement of the final 23 players. Thailand will kick off their title defence campaign against Singapore on August 17, before playing Timor Leste on August 19, the Philippines on August 21 and Malaysia on August 23. All games will take place in Chonburi.