| PETALING JAYA (Jan 8, 2008) – Thailand, fired up by their resounding success at the recently concluded SEA Games men’s futsal competition, will be aiming to add another prestigious piece of silverware to their collection when they compete in the KL World 5’s in Kuala Lumpur at the end of the month.
Following convincing performances in the 2nd Asian Indoor Games in Macau in November and the SEA Games, they are now determined to extend their dominance beyond the region and have set their sights on the KL World 5’s in Kuala Lumpur from Jan 29 to Feb 3.
The KL World 5’s, the most lucrative futsal tournament in the world with a prize purse of USD150,000, is organised by ESPN STAR Sports, Asia’s No. 1 sports broadcaster.
“Winning the title at the SEA Games was important to show that we are still dominant in the region. It was a comprehensive victory over all our rivals in South-east Asia although the close win in the preliminary stage did not truly reflect our dominance,” said coach Pattaya Piemkun, whose team have won every major title on offer in the region including the Asean Futsal title five times.
He added that the team’s success in Macau was an indication of Thailand’s continued progress.
“We beat Japan in the quarter-finals and Uzbekistan in the semifinals,” said Pattaya. Thailand lost to Iran in the final.
“Thai Futsal is presently at a high level and capable of facing the best teams. We are looking forward to the KL World 5s as it will give us the chance to play against some of the best Futsal players in the world.”
Prior to the SEA Games, Thailand had a training stint in Spain and Pattaya said that the tour revealed some of the teams shortcomings.
“We assessed that we need improvement in some areas in order to play at an even higher level against teams like Brazil.”
Thailand and hosts Malaysia are among 10 teams that will be participating in the KL World 5’s.
The others are Brazil, Argentina, Holland, England, Australia, Iran, China and Indonesia.
The KL World 5’s was officially launched by Datuk Sri Azalina Othman Said, the Minister of Youth and Sports, at the Prince Hotel on Nov 26.
Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, the General Secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia and Datuk Zolkples Embong, Director General of the National Sports Council also attended the launch.
The KL World 5’s will be telecasted to over 310 million viewers across Asia on ESPN STAR Sports channels.
The event will broadcast over 100 hours of coverage, comprising 30 telecast hours, including 20 hours of live programming – translating into extensive media exposure for Malaysia.