Somyot sets sights on spots at World Cup and Olympics

Somyot sets sights on spots at World Cup and Olympics

Nualphan Lamsam, left, and Somyot Poompunmuang during a meeting yesterday.
Nualphan Lamsam, left, and Somyot Poompunmuang during a meeting yesterday.

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Somyot Poompunmuang is aiming for the national side to win the country's first ever Fifa World Cup berth at the 2026 finals.

He also targets an Olympic spot for the U23 side at Paris 2024.

In a rare appearance over the past few months, Somyot yesterday met Nualphan Lamsam, manager of the Thai senior and U23 sides, to discuss ways to improve the national teams.

The 2026 World Cup, to be held in the US, Canada and Mexico, will feature an increase in the number of participating teams from 32 to 48.

Thailand will have a higher chance of making their first World Cup appearance as Asia will get 8+1 spots at the 2026 finals, up from 4+1 for the 2022 tournament.

"The 2026 World Cup is a good opportunity for Thailand to play in the finals thanks to an increase in the number of teams," he said.

"We also have plans for the 2024 Olympics in Paris."

Apart from earning places at the two events, the FAT also has a long-term development plan, he said.

From now, Thailand will not use overage players for the U23 side, Somyot said.

The U23 team will be busy next year with several tournaments including the SEA Games, Asian Games and U23 Asian Cup qualifying round.

As for the senior side, they will play in a four-team friendly tournament in Chiang Mai next month featuring Thailand, Malaysia, Tajikistan and Trinidad and Tobago.

The War Elephants will also defend the Asean title in December.


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