Thais pick Supachai as lone striker
Vietnam in town for Thursday's qualifier
Thailand coach Akira Nishino sprung another surprise on Sunday, naming goal-starved Supachai Chaided as the only striker in his 23-man line-up for the War Elephants' 2022 World Cup qualifiers this month.
The Thais host arch-rivals Vietnam for their first Group G game at Thammasat Stadium on Thursday with a trip to Indonesia scheduled for Sept 10. The UAE and Malaysia are the other two teams in the group.
Nishino officially announced the final squad for the upcoming qualifiers yesterday with all four foreign-based Thai stars -- playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin, defender Theerathon Bunmathan, midfielder Thitiphan Puangjan and goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan -- being part of the team.
The veteran Japanese coach had earlier raised quite a few eyebrows when he drafted only two forwards in his 33-strong list of probables.
Supachai, who burst on the international scene with some eye-catching performances in the 2018 Asian Games and January's AFC Asian Cup, has been going through an extended bad patch. The Buriram United striker has netted only two goals in 23 Thai League 1 games this season.
Talented Ekanit Panya, Shinnaphat Leeaoh and Phitiwat Sukjitthummakul are the newcomers in the side.
Chanathip, Theerathon and Thitiphan joined the camp yesterday after finishing their J-League commitments.
Chanathip said: "I have a minor sprain but it should be okay. I am looking forward to the match against Vietnam. They have improved a lot, but we must take three points from this home game."
Meanwhile, Vietnam arrived in Bangkok yesterday to prepare for Thursday's game.