Recently appointed manager Peter Reid has named a 36 person (OK man) squad for forthcoming friendly games, prior to the various tournaments that take place towards the end of the year. There are seven players each from the top two teams in the recently concluded Premier League, that is of course the Provincial Electricity Authority (Go PEA, as they no doubt shout) and Chonburi (I am reminded of when the Bangkok Post used to report on the expat league, the WAG-element of one team was described as ‘shrill, slim-hipped pole-huggers’).
There are also a few players from overseas, two playing in Vietnam (Datsakorn Thonglao and Nirut Surasiang at Hong Anh Gia Lai) and another in Singapore (Sutee Suksomsit at Tampines). Two of the three youngsters still contracted at Manchester City are also included – the third is injured. There are also welcome introductions to some other younger players, with representatives coming from Coke-Bangpra, Khon Kaen, Chula United and Muang Thong-Nok Jong United. This willingness to look beyond the top teams and the established players reflects well on Khun Peter. I have written before that he has stressed the need to improve stamina to complement the existing technique and I note he has established a training camp away from Bangkok were players might be ‘distracted.’ Let us see whether he can bring about some improvements in performance at the AT&T Cup and the AFF Suzuki Cup. No matter how well he does, qualification for the World Cup, which is the long-term goal, still seems a long way away.
I’m still not sure which team would be my local team. The league system has improved to some extent but still has a long way to go – I would consider going to watch games if it were more convenient (and possibly air-conditioned) – why for example does the league season end now, coinciding with the end of the rainy season and not extend over what is controversially called winter?