Kiatisak urges calm on World Cup target
It is too early for Thailand to consider securing their first ever World Cup berth at the 2018 finals in Russia, national coach Kiatisak Senamuang said yesterday.
Kiatisak guided Thailand to win the AFF Suzuki Cup (Asean championship) for the first time in 12 years last week.
After the triumph, Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), said it was possible for the team to play at the 2018 World Cup.
He promised that the squad would get 300 million baht in bonus if they progress to the 2018 finals. But Kiatisak said he needed time to groom his young players.
"The players are 21-22 years old on average. They need more physical strength, experience and technique. If they stay fit and keep making progress, I am sure that we will be able to compete against the likes of South Korea or Iraq in four to five years,'' he said.
"I believe that we will be able to compete against any teams from any continents in the next 10 years."
Thailand have never won the Asian Games (U23) title and failed to qualify for next month's Asian Cup finals.
Kiatisak was named the best coach of the 2014 Suzuki Cup by broadcaster ESPN.
Five Thai players were chosen to the best team of the tournament: Kawin Thamasatchanan, Tanaboon Ketsarat, Peerapat Notechaiya, Charyl Chappuis and Chanathip Songkrasin.
The other six were Malaysia's Shukor bin Adan and Amri Yahyah, Vietnam's Que Ngoc Hai and Pham Thanh Luong, Singapore's Hariss Harun and the Philippines' Phil Younghusband.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the government will give the team five million baht in bonus for winning the Suzuki Cup. "We want to reward the players and coaches for bringing happiness to the Thai people," she said.
Apart from the prize money of around six million baht, the Thai team is expected to receive in the region of 30 million baht in bonuses.
The Suzuki Cup trophy will be on display at Siam Paragon shopping mall until Friday.
Meanwhile, Thai-Swiss Chappuis, one of Thailand's most outstanding players at the Suzuki Cup, said his girlfriend Melanie Manuel may quit her job in Switzerland and stay with him in Thailand.
Chappuis, who plays for Thai club Suphanburi, is in Switzerland for holiday after helping Thailand win the Asean title.