Suzuki Cup win thrills His Majesty
His Majesty the King is impressed with Thailand's Asean title-winning performance, his doctors said yesterday.
Thailand came from 3-0 behind to lose 3-2 in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
The result was enough for Thailand to end a 12-year title drought in the biennial championship with a 2-0 home win in the first leg.
Prof Udom Kachintorn, dean of Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, said the King, who is staying at the hospital, watched both legs of the final on TV.
"In the first leg, the King woke up to watch the second half. On Saturday, His Majesty slept in the afternoon and woke up at 7pm [kick-off time] to watch the second leg,'' the doctor said.
"When Thailand trailed 2-0 at half-time, the King told his principal private secretary to phone Kasem Jariyawatwong, the team manager, and say that the King was watching the match and wanted to give them moral support."
After Thailand won the title, the King only smiled and said "brilliant", according to Udom.
The Asean champions, led by Kasem and coach Kiatisak Senamuang, paid their respect to a portrait of His Majesty and signed get-well books at Siriraj Hospital, where they were mobbed by hundreds of fans.
Thailand have now won the Asean title four times, matching Singapore's previous record.
The team is expected to receive about 33 million baht in bonuses and prize money from the triumph.
The Thais are also reigning champions of the SEA Games where the football tournament is for U23 players.
Meanwhile, Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), said the full national team will receive 300 million baht in bonuses if they reach the 2018 World Cup finals and the U23 side will get 100 million baht if they secure a berth at the 2016 Olympics.
"We are the best in Asean. This young squad is our future,'' said Worawi.
"Our targets of playing at the Olympics in 2016 and World Cup in 2018 are not impossible."
The qualifying rounds for both events will begin next year. Thailand have played at the Olympics twice — when the qualifying was not as tough — but have never earned spot at the World Cup finals.
Kiatisak earlier said it is possible for Thailand to secure a 2018 World Cup spot.