BANGKOK (12 July 2012) – Winfried Schaefer, the chief coach of Thailand, says that the key to preparing a strong team capable of battling for the outright honours in the AFF Suzuki Cup would be to play enough friendly matches in the run-up to final round of this year’s tournament.
His wishes however may not come true due to the tight fixtures of the local league. The Thai Premier League schedule this year will run until about 25 days before the tournament kicks-off.
“The national camp starts on 5 November and we have arranged for two matches then. Prior to the camp, we need to play more matches. If we do not have enough quality matches, it will be a catastrophe for the team,” said Schaefer yesterday.
He is hoping that all stakeholders in Thai football should support the efforts of the national team.
“I need the best possible group of players to work with. Only then can we form a strong team and make the country proud,” he quipped.
Thailand were once the giants in the region but much has changed in recent years. In fact, the last time Thailand lifted the AFF title was back in 2002.
However, the Thais are hoping for a change in fortunes and regain their once iron-tight grip of the game in Southeast Asia by wresting the title this year.
Pix: Winfried Schaefer, the chief coach of Thailand (at right) with Datuk K. Rajagobal, the chief coach of Malaysia (left) at the official draw ceremony of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 yesterday in Bangkok.