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The long search is over

Posted by pakin On December - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

New coach kiatisak is right stuff; succeeds after big-name appointments failed

Thailand’s triumph at the 2014 Asean Football Championship on Saturday night is the latest and most compelling evidence underlining the fact that former national striker Kiatisak Senamuang is the man the country has long searched for to bring back the glory days to Thai football.

Few could have predicted when Thailand last won the region’s showpiece tournament in 2002 – its third title in the first four times the biennial event was held – that the country would have to wait more than a decade to taste success again.

Whether that was the result of poor management at the Thai FA or the failure to replenish the squad with a new generation of players, it was a long barren run for a country once widely regarded as the undisputed top team in Southeast Asia. And it led to coincided with Thailand plummeting down the Fifa rankings.

Since the country’s early dominance in the Championship, which was achieved under the guidance of former England striker Peter Withe, who twice led Thailand to the title (in 2000 and 2002), the Thai FA has drafted in both local and foreign managers in an attempt to revive the Thai team’s fortunes.

However, most of those men, including former Sunderland manager Peter Reid and former England and Manchester United captain Bryan Robson, had little success when in charge of the national side. Hype surrounding their appointments proved to be just misplaced optimism.

It was the same case with Kiatisak’s predecessor, veteran German Winfried Schaefer, whose reign began promisingly before it came to a disappointing end, with a poor qualifying campaign for next month’s Asian Cup in Australia.

In the wake of Schaefer’s exit, the Football Association of Thailand brought in Kiatisak to hold the fort while looking for a suitable candidate to replace the experienced German. However, the 41-year-old made a big splash in his first game in charge of the team by guiding them to a shock 5-1 friendly win in China in June.

The ex-striker was then assigned to lead the under-23 side at the Myanmar-hosted SEA Games at the end of last year and did not disappoint at his first international tournament as a coach, steering Thailand to its first gold medal in the regional sporting event in six years.

Kiatisak then pressed a strong case for a permanent job by helping the Thai side equal its best Asian Games result with fourth spot in the under-23 competition in Incheon, South Korea earlier this year. With such remarkable results, the FAT decided to give him the full-time job, with his immediate task to help the country reclaim the elusive Championship trophy.

Despite his outstanding coaching record at under-23 level, doubts remained over Kiatisak’s ability to step up to coach the senior team in a competition that has become much more competitive in the years after Thailand’s early dominance.

He raised eyebrows when he preferred to keep faith with most of the young players who have worked with him since the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar while leaving some established names, such as Muangthong United midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao out of the Championship squad.

Kiatisak’s youthful side is unrecognisable from the under-achieving teams of recent years as they produced an attractive brand of quick-passing football that captured the imagination of the fans during their sparkling unbeaten run to the final against Malaysia.

Aside from the youthful exuberance, Kiatisak’s men showed commendable resilience as well, most notably in the second-leg of the final in Kuala Lumpur, where they flirted with letting the title slip through their fingers.

Despite holding a 2-0 first-leg advantage, the Thais found themselves 3-0 behind with half an hour remaining at the intimidating Bukit Jalil stadium. But they pulled off an astonishing comeback to score two late goals to seal a heart-pounding 4-3 aggregate win which ensured their long wait for the title had come to an end.

Thailand’s fourth title puts it level with Singapore as the most successful nations in the event and Kiatisak, who became the first person to win as both a coach and player, was full of praise for his team.

“We worked for two years for this moment,” he said. “I’m relieved and delighted. “Coach and players, we have different duties to perform. We face different kinds of pressure.

“This group of players is even better than the team I played for. They have everything [needed] to achieve more success.”

Late strikes inspire Thailand

Posted by pakin On December - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Thailand are on the brink of regaining the Asean title after beating Malaysia 2-0 in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final last night.

Charyl Chappuis’ penalty kick after 72 minutes and Kroekrit Thaweekarn’s strike four minutes from time finished off the Tigers at a packed Rajamangala National Stadium.

The second leg will take place in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday as Thailand are chasing a record-equalling fourth title in the biennial event.

Thailand coach Kiatisak Senamuang was a player of the three winning sides. He has never lost to Malaysia as a player and a coach.

His men also beat Malaysia 3-2 in Singapore in the group stage of the current campaign.

“Malaysia played very well and their defence was solid in the first half,” said Kiatisak.

“It was an exciting match. I am pleased with the win but our mission is not yet complete. Our aim is to win back the trophy.

“We have a 2-0 lead and the atmosphere at the 80,000-seat stadium in Kuala Lumpur will be a big test for our young players. But the Malaysia team will be under pressure too.”

Malaysia coach Dollah Saleh said: “In the first half we played very well in defence but in the second half, I don’t know what happened and the Thai played very well.

“At home, we will try our best. It is not easy when we are 2-0 down, but anything can happen in football especially when we play at home. I am still believe that we can do better in Kuala Lumpur.”

At Rajamangala, Malaysia gave the War Elephants a scare in the opening minutes, forcing Thailand goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan to make a couple of good saves.

But the Thais soon found their rhythm and began piling the pressure on Malaysia.

Kroekrit, Sarach Yooyen and Chanathip Songkrasin squandered several chances with goalkeeper Mohd Farizal in good form.

After 41 minutes, striker Adisak Kraisorn went clear but his shot was cleared off the line by Malaysia defender Muhammad Zabir Azmi.

Thailand were dominant in the second half and finally got their first goal when they were awarded a penalty after Adisak was tripped in the area.

Thai-Swiss midfielder Chappuis made no mistake from the spot.

Thailand got a two-goal cushion thanks to Kroekrit’s close-range shot in the 86th minute.

Thailand will get one million baht in bonus for last night’s win from the Football Association of Thailand.

The Thais are expected to receive more than 20 million baht in bonus and prize money if they lift the trophy on Saturday.

SET-listed shopping project developer Central Pattana Plc (CPN), a property arm of Central Group, is set to double the number of its domestic malls to around 50 by 2024.

The company seeks to open 20 retail projects from 2018-24 that will require an investment of 15 billion baht a year.

About 10 projects will be in Bangkok and the rest upcountry. Four projects will be developed on big plots of 100 rai or more.

“When the Asean Economic Community [AEC] becomes effective by the end of next year, it will create huge opportunities for us to develop new retail projects. Several provinces will benefit from the AEC,” said CPN president and chief executive Preecha Ekkunagul.

CPN has 25 shopping malls with combined space of 5.5 million square metres across the country.

It will develop six retail projects in Bangkok and upcountry from 2015-17 with total investment of 5.3 billion baht.

CentralWestGate in Nonthaburi is a prototype of a super regional mall with an investment of 14 billion baht for 500,000 sq m.

CentralPlaza Rayong requires an investment of 4 billion baht for 200,000 sq m, while CentralFestival East Ville in eastern Bangkok is an outdoor lifestyle mall worth 6 billion baht for 150,000 sq m.

CentralPlaza Nakhon Si Thammarat is a lifestyle shopping complex with investment of 4 billion baht for 120,000 sq m.

CentralPlaza Nakhon Ratchasima is the first lifestyle shopping mall in the Northeast, with an investment of 9.3 billion baht and 250,000 sq m. Central Phuket will be developed at a cost of 12.7 billion baht for 300,000 sq m.

CPN will spend 2.3 billion baht to renovate CentralPlaza Pinklao and 1.2 billion baht to revamp CentralPlaza Bangna.

The company expects its sales will grow by 15% per year from this year’s expected 25 billion baht to reach 50 billion in 2019.

“We will continue our development domestically because we believe the Thai economy is likely to grow enormously in the future. The government’s massive infrastructure projects will also push Thailand toward the centre of Asean,” Mr Preecha said.

CPN plans to open its first shopping complex in Malaysia in the next few years, while projects in Vietnam and Indonesia are in the pipeline.

All projects in Asean will be joint ventures with local partners.

CPN shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 46.75 baht, down 25 satang, in trade worth 206 million baht.

Trade, investment discussed with Russian PM

Posted by pakin On November - 13 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Thailand and Russia on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to continue mutual cooperation in trade and investment, particularly in the agricultural and logistic sectors.

The agreement was made during a bilateral meeting between Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of Asean Summit in Myanmar’s capital of Nay Pi Taw.

The two sides congratulated each other on their longstanding ties ahead of the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2017. With Thailand remaining a popular destination for Russian travellers, Gen Prayut assured Medvedev that the Kingdom was a safe place to visit and that his government would make every effort to ensure the wellbeing of all visitors.

The Thai premier also thanked Russia for increasing its imports of Thai agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables and canned foods and expressed the hope that bilateral trade would double to about US$10 billion by 2016.

The PM also extended an invitation to Russia to invest in Thailand’s infrastructure development projects.

In return, Medvedev voiced readiness to push trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, saying he would further expand the market for Thai produce within Russia. The Russian premier said he considered Thailand one of Russia’s leading partners in Asean and insisted that bilateral cooperation would be increased in many areas, such as energy, tourism and cultural exchange.

He also invited Gen Prayut to make an official visit to Russia when convenient.

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