Talks to extend Zico's tenure set for January

Talks to extend Zico's tenure set for January

Thais face big fine for fan trouble in Bangkok

Thailand celebrate winning the AFF Suzuki Cup title at Rajamangala National Stadium on Saturday night. Pattarachai Preechapanich
Thailand celebrate winning the AFF Suzuki Cup title at Rajamangala National Stadium on Saturday night. Pattarachai Preechapanich

Thailand's commendable comeback victory over Indonesia in Saturday night's Suzuki Cup final has failed to cast aside the cloud of uncertainty hanging over Kiatisak Senamuang's future as the national team coach.

Defending champions Thailand suffered a 2-1 loss in the first leg of the title showdown on Wednesday in Bogor but then carved out a 2-0 victory in the Bangkok leg to win 3-2 on aggregate.

Thailand are now the winningest nation in the tournament with five titles to their credit.

Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), yesterday announced that the national governing body will have talks with Kiatisak about a new contract in early January.

Kiatisak's contract with the association as the national head coach ends in February.

Somyot said: "For the Thai national team's success in this year's AFF Suzuki Cup, the FAT would like congratulate the players and thank them for their hard work.

"Apart from the players, the staff coaches also played an important role. They were a part of the team which won the record fifth title."

Somyot did drop a hint that Kiatisak, a former national team striker known as 'Zico', is apparently in line for an extension, saying: "Kiatisak is really the main person and I would like to praise him for using good tactics.

"We know that his contract with the FAT will end in February, therefore, we will call Kiatisak in January for a discussion about his contract. We will also talk about the future goals that we want to set for the national team."

Kiatisak said: "Before the match, every player was under pressure because we lost the first leg to the Indonesians. Being the defending champions also added pressure.

"However, we did not give up. We wanted to fight to the end for the Thai fans. This title is a New Year gift for the Thai people. We dedicate this success to His Majesty the King and King Rama IX, who passed away in October."

The Thai coach added: "We went in with Sirod Chatthong and Charyl Chappuis and I am happy they did very well. The players were tired after playing so many matches in just over a month."

The team will receive a 15-million-baht bonus on top of the seven-million-baht prize money for winning the tournament.

Meanwhile, FAT spokesman Patit Supapong said Thailand are likely to pay a heavy penalty after their fans set flares alight after Sirod's opening goal and also in the dying moments of the match.

"The security officials had to defuse the flares in the stands and some were thrown on to the field as well," said Patit.

He added that FAT will be sending a letter to the Asean Football Federation (AFF), but "the chances of escaping a reprimand and a seven-figure fine are remote".

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