BANGKOK (3 Dec 2012) – Among those who were at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil to watch Malaysia demolished Indonesia was none other than Thailand chief coach Winfried Schaefer.
Schaefer had only just completed the first part of first mission when he led the Thais to a perfect record in Group A by winning all three matches against the Philippines, Myanmar and then Vietnam. Enroute, his chargers had also scored nine goals – the most by any of the eight teams taking part this year.
But asked if his team is ready to lift the crown for the fourth time this year, Schaefer said that it is better to be patient.
“At the moment, I’m happy with the way we played,” said Schaefer. “But I think that we should not dream too far. We should take it one a time. We still have the semi-finals to play for.
“For me, I would rather concentrate on my own team than think about the others. As a team, we are playing well where in the last match; we used several players who had not played previously. So we are shaping up really good.”
Apart from having scored the right results Thailand – ASEAN champions in 1996, 2000 and 2002 – have also shown that they the depth in their squad to carry the challenge through this year.
As demonstrated in their last match, Thailand still did well without the influence of Teerasil Dangda and Datsakorn Thonglao when they found the back of the net on a regular basis.
A factor which defending champions Malaysia will have to look out for when they take on the Thais in the first-leg semi-finals at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on 9 Dec 2012.
Pix by Thananuwat Srirasant (World Sport Group)