Thailand volleyball coach hopes it will be 'Turkey shoot'

Thailand volleyball coach hopes it will be 'Turkey shoot'

Kingdom face hosts in VNL quarter-finals

Thailand captain Pornpun Guedpard, second right, and teammates celebrate during a Nations League preliminary round match. ( photo)
Thailand captain Pornpun Guedpard, second right, and teammates celebrate during a Nations League preliminary round match. ( photo)

Thailand aim to spoil the hosts' party when they meet Turkey in the quarter-finals of the FIVB Volleyball Women's Nations League on Thursday.

It is the first time that the Thais have reached the Nations League finals since the event began in 2018, although they played in the final stages a couple of times when the tournament was known as the World Grand Prix.

After three preliminary round weeks in the 2022 VNL, Turkey finished seventh with seven wins and five losses, one place above the Thais, who had five wins and seven losses.

Turkey have won all three previous VNL meetings with Thailand, the last in the 2021 edition.

Turkey will count on the support of their fans to try to overcome Thailand in Ankara.

They have made it to the semi-finals of each previous edition of the VNL and will be aiming at their third medal in the competition, after claiming silver in 2018 and bronze in 2021.

Thailand coach Danai Sriwatcharamethakul admitted that his team are the underdogs against the hosts.

"They have good players and a world-class league," he said.

However, the coach believes a win is not impossible.

"When a match has not yet started, we still have a chance to win," said Danai.

Thailand are led by captain Pornpun Guedpard, the best setter of the 2022 preliminary round.

Thailand's other key players include Chatchu-on Moksri, Ajcharaporn Kongyot, Pimpichaya Kokram, Piyanut Pannoy and Hattaya Bamrungsuk.

Danai has made only one change to the squad with Tichaya Boonlert replacing Tichakorn Boonlert. Thatdao Nuekjang has been ruled out due to injury.

The Thais beat Bulgaria, Serbia, China, Canada and South Korea, and lost to Belgium, Poland, Japan, the USA, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Italy in the preliminary round.

The Thailand Volleyball Association (TVA) is building a new national side after the so-called "Fab Six" retired or quit playing for the national side last year.

They are Wilavan Apinyapong, Malika Kanthong, Onuma Sittirak, Pleumjit Thinkaow, Nootsara Tomkom and Amporn Hyapha.

The TVA's ultimate dream is to seal the country's first ever Olympic berth in the sport at Paris 2024.

The 2022 VNL finals began yesterday with Brazil taking on Japan and the USA facing Serbia. In today's other quarter-final, Italy meet China.

Thailand squad

Pornpun Guedpard (c), Sirima Manakij, Piyanut Pannoy, Supattra Pairoj, Hattaya Bamrungsuk, Jarasporn Bundasak, Kaewkalaya Kamulthala, Tichaya Boonlert, Ajcharaporn Kongyot, Chatchu-on Moksri, Sutadta Chuewulim, Sasipaporn Janthawisut, Pimpichaya Kokram, Thanacha Sooksod.

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