Somyot targets systematic development of Thai sides

Somyot targets systematic development of Thai sides

FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang.
FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang.

>> Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang is more interested in achieving long-term goals and ensuring a systematic development of the national teams than pleasing the local fans.

Somyot yesterday presided over a meeting of the FAT to set targets for 2018.

He instructed FAT technical chairman Witthaya Laohakul to tell coaches of different national sides that he was looking forward to seeing tangible improvement in the standard of all Thai teams.

"We are not interested in results," said Somyot, adding: "We only want to see the Thai teams play at higher levels."

The FAT chief also appealed to the Thai fans to be patient.

"The other Asian nations have had a 20-30-year headstart on us and even some Asean countries started systematic development of their football teams years ago.

"It is a long-term process during which many things can go wrong before the right path is found.

"Our coaches have been with us for only seven months. They need time as they have to try different strategies to see which one suits our players the most."

Somyot claimed that the new FAT National Football Training Centre, which is equipped with all facilities and has accommodation for training stints, should "help improve the things".

Thailand's first assignment in 2018 will be the AFC U23 Championship in China next month when the national U23 team, under Bulgarian coach Zoran Jankovic, will be facing defending champions Japan, North Korea and Palestine in their first-round group stage matches.

The Thai women's football team is scheduled to participate in the AFC Women's Championship, which will be held in Amman in April. They are in Group A with hosts Jordan, China and the Philippines. Top five sides from the eight-strong event will qualify for the Fifa Women's World Cup in France in 2019.

The Asian Games, which will be held in the Indonesia cities of Jakarta and Palembang from Aug 18 to Sept 2, will be next with the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Asean championship, taking place at the end of 2018.

CHIANG RAI SWOOP CLEITON

Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva, 30, completed his switch from Chinese League One club Shanghai Shenxin to Thai League 1 side Chiang Rai United after passing a medical yesterday afternoon.

The arrival of the former Muang Thong United striker, who scored 17 goals in 26 matches in his one season in China, will strengthen Chiang Rai's attacking line-up.

Cleiton twice won the Thai League 1's Golden Boot award. Before joining Muang Thong in 2014, he played for Osotspa (2010, 2011) and BEC Tero (2012-2013).

Chiang Rai finished fourth in Thai League 1 this year. They won their first domestic title last month, beating Bangkok United 4-2 in the FA Cup final.

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