Thais target North Korea scalp in King's Cup
Burkina Faso take on Belarus
When the 45th King's Cup gets under way at Rajamangala National Stadium on Friday, coach Milovan Rajevac will be expected to guide Thailand to victories over two higher-ranked opponents and retain the prestigious trophy.
Defending champions Thailand take on North Korea in the second match at 7.30pm, while the opening game will see Belarus play Burkina Faso at 4.30pm.
Both matches will be live on Thai Rath TV.
The winners of Friday's clashes will face off in the final and the losers compete in the third-place play-off with both games taking place on Sunday.
However, Rajevac does not seem to be bothered by the fact that Thailand are some 18 places below No.113 North Korea in the Fifa rankings. Burkina Faso are ranked No.44 and Belarus are No.71.
The War Elephants' coach yesterday told a pre-match conference at Al Meroz Hotel that his men were eager to win their opening game.
Rajevac said: "We are very happy that teams from three different continents are participating in this year's King's Cup.
"All the teams in this tournament have been through different mechanisms and styles of development, but all of them are here with the common desire of winning the tournament.
"We have studied the tapes of the North Korean team. They have a good coach and have developed well over the past two years.
"However, the Thai national team also have many good players and they want to win the match. I would like the Thai football fans to come and cheer the team. We will try to produce a good result."
North Korea coach Jorn Andersen said: "We have prepared the team well for this event although these are not our best players. It will not be an easy match for us."
Belarus coach Igor Kriushenko said: "We do not have our top players here so this is a great opportunity for our young players. We are confident of putting on impressive shows in the tournament."
Burkina Faso technical chairman Ousmane Savadogo said: "We have not brought along our best players because they are busy with their club commitments. In any case, we are looking forward to our first match and hope to do our best in the King's Cup."