Thailand football coach eager to silence his critics with Suzuki success

Thailand football coach eager to silence his critics with Suzuki success

FAT chief Somyot Poompunmuang and national team coach Mano Polking during a meeting on Wednesday.
FAT chief Somyot Poompunmuang and national team coach Mano Polking during a meeting on Wednesday.

Thailand coach Mano Polking said on Wednesday he is hungry for success and wants to win the AFF Suzuki Cup to silence his critics.

The German-Brazilian coach met Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Somyot Poompunmuang to discuss plans for the Suzuki Cup tournament among other matters.

"I am happy to get this job and have hunger [for success]," Polking said after the meeting with Somyot and FAT technical officials.

"Football is all about results. Our immediate mission is the Asean championship [Suzuki Cup]. Our next target is reaching the Asian Cup finals and then the [2026] World Cup qualifying round."

Polking was appointed as the coach of the War Elephants a few months ago with the Suzuki Cup his first assignment.

The former Bangkok United coach said he had an initial list of 69 players for the tournament.

"I know these players well," said Polking, who has been in Thailand for about eight years with a short spell in Vietnam.

"We will watch and analyse their performances [during matches for their clubs] and select the best 30."

The Suzuki Cup, postponed from last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be held in Singapore from Dec 5-Jan 1.

Each team is allowed to have 30 players although only 23 can be named in the squad for each match day.

Critics said Polking, 45, is not the right man for Thailand as he has never won a trophy at the club level although he guided Bangkok United to runners-up spots in the league and FA Cup.

He said when he joined Bangkok United, they were struggling to avoid relegation but he played a role in turning them into the team they are now.

"We may reach the Suzuki Cup final and win the title," the former Army, Suphanburi and Ho Chi Minh City coach told goal.com.

"It would be amazing and nobody would be able to say I have never won a trophy."

Five-time champions Thailand begin their campaign at the Suzuki Cup against Timor Leste on Dec 5 with the other teams in Group A being Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines.

Defending champions Vietnam are in Group B with Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.

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