War Elephants aim to tame Tigers

War Elephants aim to tame Tigers

Polking confident of reaching Cup final

Thailand coach Mano Polking, left, and midfielder Jakkraphan Kaewprom attend a press conference in Chiang Mai yesterday.
Thailand coach Mano Polking, left, and midfielder Jakkraphan Kaewprom attend a press conference in Chiang Mai yesterday.

Thailand coach Mano Polking is confident that the War Elephants will beat Malaysia in their King's Cup opener in Chiang Mai tonight and reach the final of the prestigious tournament.

The four-team tournament is being held at Chiang Mai's 700th Anniversary Stadium.

The War Elephants take on Malaysia at 8.30pm after Tajikistan face Trinidad and Tobago at 5.30pm.

The winners will meet in the final after the losers face off in the third-place play-off on Sunday.

"Malaysia are a good team and have many good and strong players," Polking told a press conference yesterday.

"Our players have just played in the Thai league but this should not be a problem as we have prepared our team well for this tournament."

Thailand have failed to beat the Malayan Tigers in their last five meetings but Polking is not worried about the record.

"It will be tough against Malaysia but I have confidence," the Brazilian said.

"We have many good attacking players. I believe every player will do his best. We will also give chances to new players to shine in this competition."

The squad is led by Japan-based Chanathip Songkrasin, who will captain the team, and Supachok Sarachat.

"It's good to have Chanathip and Supachok in the team," Polking said.

Jakkraphan Kaewprom said at the press conference that he would like to see fans flock the stadium.

Earlier, the midfielder said he was confident that Thailand would defeat Malaysia.

Thailand defender Theerathon Bunmathan said he was ready for the 48th King's Cup tournament.

"I am looking forward to winning the trophy. I expect to win every tournament I play in," said the Buriram United star.

"Some teams are ranked higher than us so it will be a good test for us."

Malaysia coach Kim Pan-Gon said: "We have been preparing the team continuously over the past eight months.

"We have many new faces in the national team. We also focus on attitude and fitness."

The South Korean coach also said past records were irrelevant.

Launched in 1968, the King's Cup is one of Asia's oldest football tournaments.

Thailand have lifted the trophy 14 times and Malaysia four, the last in 1978.

Meanwhile, Guus Hiddink declared Australia "fresh" and primed to "fight" after getting his first look at the team since being recruited in the build-up to the World Cup.

The Dutchman is working alongside coach Graham Arnold for their friendly against New Zealand in Brisbane today.

The 75-year-old Hiddink, who guided South Korea to the 2002 semi-finals, said that Arnold had done "a beautiful job" to qualify for Qatar.


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