Thailand coach gets his wish

Thailand coach gets his wish

Thailand coach Mano Polking attends Monday's meeting with FAT officials.
Thailand coach Mano Polking attends Monday's meeting with FAT officials.

National coach Mano Polking was promised more time to prepare his team in the defence of their Asean title later this year following a discussion with the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) on Monday.

"It was a good and important meeting," said Polking after his talks with FAT secretary-general Patit Supaphong and Thai League CEO Korrawee Pritsananantakul.

"We will have plenty of time and get the best team [for the Southeast Asian championship]."

The 2022-23 season of the domestic league was scheduled to take a break for the Asian Games in China in September.

But the Asiad has been postponed so domestic matches will fill the slot, officials said at the meeting.

"Time is important for teams to play at a high-level competition. Every coach wants the best players. This is not easy as we also have to help clubs," Polking said.

The Brazilian steered Thailand to win back the Suzuki Cup (Asean championship), which has been renamed the Mitsubishi Electric Cup, in January.

Polking admitted that it may be difficult for the War Elephants to defend the title.

"Our target is to defend the title. But we may have more pressure because we are the defending champions. We all hope we will do well again but that may not be easy," he said.

"If we have time and good players, I believe we will be favourites to win the title again."

He said he would watch league matches to look for new players for the national side.

Polking had called for the FAT to arrange domestic league and cup schedules in a way that helped the national side.

As club and international matches took place almost at the same time, some clubs were reluctant to release their players for the national team.

His complaint led to the meeting.

Polking's latest assignment was the qualifying round for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Thailand managed to beat the Maldives and Sri Lanka but lost to hosts Uzbekistan -- results which were enough for the War Elephants to reach the finals.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is still looking for a new host for the 2023 Asian Cup after China withdrew from organising the event due to Covid-19.

Japan and South Korea are interested in organising the tournament.

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