FAT extends Ishii's contract

FAT extends Ishii's contract

Japanese to coach Thais until July 2026

FAT president Nualphan Lamsam, left, with Thailand's Japanese coach Masatada Ishii.
FAT president Nualphan Lamsam, left, with Thailand's Japanese coach Masatada Ishii.

Japanese coach Masatada Ishii has signed a contract that will keep him at the helm of the Thailand national men's team until the conclusion of the 2026 Fifa World Cup finals in July 2026.

The development was confirmed by newly elected Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Nualphan Lamsam on Wednesday.

Additionally, it was announced that Ishii would also serve as an advisor to the national men's U23 team.

After a string of disappointing results under former War Elephants coach Mano Polking, Nualphan had invited Ishii to take over the reins of the national squad in November last year.

The Thais had an impressive run under Ishii at the 2024 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, which concluded on Feb 10. The War Elephants made the last 16 stage of the tournament.

Ishii's next assignment will be the two crucial home-and-away qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

Thailand are scheduled to play Group C favourites South Korea in Seoul in the second phase of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup finals on March 21.

The two sides will face off again on March 26 at Bangkok's Rajamangala National Stadium.

The South Koreans made it to the semi-finals of the Asian Cup but were far from impressive.

The Korea Football Association recently sacked national team coach Juergen Klinsmann after their semi-final exit at the Asian Cup amid criticism of his leadership.

South Korea's exit from the Asian Cup following a 2-0 loss to Jordan in the semi-finals this month, which extended their 64-year wait for a third title, led to calls from fans and some politicians for the 59-year-old's dismissal.

Former South Korea international Hwang Sun-Hong has taken temporary charge of the team and will be in the dugout for the two matches against Thailand.

Hwang earlier guided the South Korean U23 team to gold medal at the Asian Games last October.

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