BANGKOK (23 Nov 2012) – The hunger is back in the Thai national squad and chief coach Winfried Schaefer believes that it will make all the difference when they open their campaign against the Philippines in the second match of Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup tomorrow evening at the Rajamangala Stadium.
With the Philippines taking a more cautious approach following the absence of several European-based players, Schaefer took to the pre-match Press Conference this afternoon with a lot of gusto.
“The last few friendlies showed the determination of the players and it certainly demonstrated how hungry the players are for honours,” said Schaefer. “I know that we have had several good results against the Philippines but that is in the past, it will be a new game tomorrow.”
Thailand go into the game tomorrow as the three-time champions of the ASEAN crown after having won it in 1996, 2000 and 2002
For Michael Weiss, the chief coach of the Philippines, he admitted that he is an admirer of Schaefer since he was younger considering that both of them came from the same region in Germany.
“I am an admirer of Schaefer which will make the game tomorrow interesting,” added Weiss. “We are missing a few players but we will put up our best to show how much we have progressed. Against the hosts, obviously we have to be a little cautious where we have to make use of our opportunities.”
In the meantime Vietnam – the winners in 2008 – will take on Myanmar in the first match of the day.
Team manager Ngo Le Bang said that the team has been shaping up well over the last month where the two wins over defending champions Malaysia is testament that the team is well prepared for the tournament this year.
“I think that we are as well prepared as we can ever be,” said Le Bang, who is also the general secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF). “Against Myanmar, we will be out to pick up the full points to put us on the right track for the semi-finals.”
Tin Myint Aung, the team manager of Myanmar, added tomorrow will be a different ball game even though history is stacked against them.
“Our record against Vietnam may not be very good but tomorrow is a new day and anything can happen,” added Myint Aung. “That is the beauty of football. There is always that chance and we have to be at our best for that to happen.”