Polking worried about Thailand defence

Polking worried about Thailand defence

Thailand coach Mano Polking (right) attend a press conference with other officials on Tuesday.
Thailand coach Mano Polking (right) attend a press conference with other officials on Tuesday.

Thailand will play two warm-up games ahead of next month's AFC Asian Cup qualifying round, officials said on Tuesday.

The War Elephants meet Turkmenistan at Si Sa Ket Stadium on Friday and face Bahrain at BG Stadium in Pathum Thani next Tuesday.

Thailand are in Group C along with hosts Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives in the June 8 to 14 Asian Cup qualifying round for the 2023 finals.

Thailand coach Mano Polking, Football Association of Thailand (FAT) secretary-general Patit Supa-phong and Si Sa Ket MP Siripong Angkasakulkiat attended a press conference Tuesday.

Polking said he will be without several players for the Uzbekistan tournament including midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin, forward Supachai Chaided, and defenders Manuel Tom Bihr, Philp Roller, Kewin Deeromram and Naruebodin Weerawatnodom.

"I am worried about our defence as several defenders are injured and have pulled out of the squad," he said.

He said he had called up replacements and would test them during the two warm-up matches before announcing his 23-man squad for the Asian Cup qualifiers.

Buriram United, Chonburi and Chiang Rai are in the League Cup semi-finals and their players will join the team after the title match on Sunday.

Polking said several U23 players could play for the senior side including Kritsada Kaman, Suphanat Mueanta, Ekanit Panya and Thanawat Suengchittavon, but they have to play in the U23 Asian Cup which is scheduled from June 1 to 19.

Polking was appointed coach of the U23 team for a one-off assignment at the SEA Games which ended on Monday.

The Young Elephants lost 1-0 to hosts Vietnam in the final on Sunday.

The 2023 Asian Cup was originally scheduled to be held in China. However, China is unable to organise the event due to Covid-19 and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is looking for a new host nation.

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