|Sport:||Football / Soccer|
|Role:||Head Coach of the Thailand Women's Football Team|
Nuengruethai Sathongwien is the new head coach of the women’s national team after some back and forth around the hot seat over the last months. It could do more harm than good to Thailand’s goal of going to the World Cup 2015.
In June next year, Thailand’s national team could either sit in front of their own TV screens at home and follow the opening match of the Women’s World Cup or they could prepare for their first match of the world biggest female tournament. To make the latter happen, it doesn’t need much. Theoretically two wins would be enough for a first-time ever qualification of a Thai senior side to such a stage. But than again it looks like the Thai FA could spoil this one in a lifetime chance.
As we could learn from inside sources, the qualification to Canada, and with it the Asia Championship, really enjoys top priority within the FA this time. But oh. Then again. Real priority looks different and some of the activities do rather remind of being symbolic. Like, we did what we could but in the end, don’t blame us.
There would be the back and fourth on the coaches position over the past weeks to name on one hand and no domestic league on the other. No domestic competition has taken place since early the last year. Apparently because on is of the opinion it would be much better to prepare the national team all year round for certain tournaments rather than let the players individually gain experience week in week out in a league. Sides like Japan, Germany, Australia are surely not just better because of their physique. Thai Futsal national boss Vic Hermans, for example, can look joyfully at a shortened preparation to his Asian Championship campaign in May because he is able to look after his and potential new players week after week in the league and knows they are all full of sap.
Sure, the ladies successfully grabbed Gold at the recent SEA-Games under Jatuporn Pramualban after fighting down Myanmar in the semis and Vietnam in the final. And one could play a friendly against Linköpings earlier this year, but for this one, the FA didn’t had to lift a finger.
What followed were weeks with several changes on the hot seat which left one head-shaking and is certainly anything but good for the preparation to Asian Cup. At first Pramualban left from office – because he completely wanted to concentrate on his job with TTM-Customs. As a result the management brought back in ex-coach Piyakul Kaewnamkang, who unexpectedly quit last summer and now remained just a few weeks in the office. However, the officials apparently didn’t looked far on their search for a new coach.
Thus, for example, the former Coach of Thai port and Bangkok United, Sasom Pobprasert, was in the mill, and just when you could hope that maybe an experienced trainer from abroad could be introduced – it was Jatuporn Pramualban again. However, this intermezzo did not last long. So at first it was said that the new old one chucked it all in because he would have no time for two jobs. However, at the end it was probably the FA which kicked him out according to reports.
With Nuengruethai Sathongwien finally for the first time a woman is in charge. The under-16 and under-14 coach, also coaching last year’s domestic champion BG-CAS from Khon Kaen, acted as assistant for the national team. Presumably not the worst idea, but it remains to be seen how she can assert herself against the male counterpart and adviser Charnwit Polcheewin. The cut down to the final 23 players approaches and obviously Sathongwien at least has the one or other idea in mind. Thus she would like to see the captain of the Futsal side, Orathai Srimanee to practice wirth the team. Srimanee originally comes from the football but switched from the fragrant green to the parquet a few years ago.
At least the whole practice squad has been able to escape the cabin fever temporary with a trip to Khon Kaen. Because since almost one year, just interrupted by tournaments, the side had to stay and train together at the SAT-Sportscentre in Hua Mark. And up to now, apart of the previously mentioned game against Linköpings, there were no further serious tests. Only the usual small practice matches against juniors. Jordan for example, which will have to play in Group A of the upcoming Women’s Asian Cup, played two serious tests against the women’s Bundesliga side of FC Bayern Munchen last week.
But there are good news too. Just this week it has been announced that Thailand will travel to Osaka for two weeks to prepare, for what hopefully is going to turn out to be their #RoadToCanada. It is to assume that one will play a few tests against Speranza Osaka, the former team of Pitsami Sornsai, Kanjana Sungngeon and Naphat Seesraum. That’s indeed a step in the right direction, but should not be an one-time thing to happen every few years ahead of a major campaign what the Asian Cup is with no doubt.
Another positive thing to report on are coming from the injury front. Chidtawan Chawong, Pitsami Sornsai, Sunisa Srangthaisong and Wilaiporn Boothduang are all back in practice meanwhile. But can they make it? Sunisa and Wilaiporn got heavy injuries during the SEA-Games. And in her only league appearance for Speranza in Japan, Pitsami even suffered a third heavy injury of her still young career within three years. If a male footballer would suffer such injuries, his career certainly would be over. Andi, a German sports therapist, usually part of the man’s senior team, has been delegated by the FA to take care and help them with speedy recovery.
Thailand’s campaign of the 2014 Women’s Asian Cup starts on 15 May with the game against China. Beside the Chinese, the Thais will have to face South Korea and rival Myanmar in Group B. One win over the neighbouring country should be enough to finish its group as third, which is enough to be qualified for the fifth place play-off game against the third of Group A. The winner of this final and crucial match, can book its tickets to World Cup 2015 in Canada.