Spend wisely, PM told Asean champs
As financial rewards keep pouring in for the Asean football title winning team, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday told the players to spend wisely.
Gen Prayut welcomed the national football team, which won the AFF Suzuki Cup last week, at Government House.
The premier gave the team 15 million baht in rewards for the success — five million baht each from the National Sports Development Fund, CP Group and Thai Beverage.
The team, led by coach Kiatisak Senamuang, has received more than 40 million baht in bonuses.
They also got US$200,000 in prize money after beating Malaysia 4-3 on aggregate in the final.
The prime minister said sports development must begin at ministries which have to help look for and create footballers as well as athletes in other disciplines.
He said the national football team claimed the Suzuki Cup title last week partly because of the Thai Premier League (TPL) which helps groom players.
"Creating athletes is not the duty of sports associations but that of ministries," Prayut said.
"Every ministry is like a [Thai] Premier League club. You have to help create footballers."
He said sports associations which do not have enough funds can ask for more from the government.
Thai-Swiss Charyl Chappuis is one of the most popular players of the team particularly among female fans.
Chappuis, 22, is in Switzerland for holiday with his family and girlfriend Melanie Manuel.
The midfielder said his girlfriend would quit her job and come to stay with him in Thailand.
"His girlfriend may not trust him because a lot of girls like him. So she is quitting her job and will come to stay with him in Thailand."
Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), said the FAT would sign a new eight-year sponsorship deal worth 400 million baht with Thai Beverage.
Kiatisak is expected to be appointed as coach of the full national team and U23 side.
He said he wanted a formal contract as soon as possible so that he could start working.
Next year, the full national team will play in the 2018 World Cup qualifying round while the U23 side will be trying to defend the SEA Games title and take part in the 2016 Olympic qualifying round.
Kiatisak steered the U23 team to win the SEA Games gold medal last year and finish fourth at this year's Asian Games.
Meanwhile, Thai Premier League club BEC Tero Sasana said midfielder Chanathip 'Messi J' Songkrasin would stay with the Fire Dragons for at least another season.
Chanathip, a key player of the Suzuki Cup winning team, has said he wants to play in a bigger league.
Reports say Japanese and South Korean clubs have shown interest in the 21-year-old diminutive midfielder.