Kiatisuk named Thailand coach after SEA Games triumph

Kiatisuk Senamuang has been named coach of the Thailand national team just a week after leading the Under-23 side to victory at the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The 40-year-old’s appointment as the boss of the senior side was confirmed at a Football Association of Thailand (FAT) board meeting.

“Everybody agreed to his appointment,” FAT acting president Worawi Makudi told the Bangkok Post.

Kiatisuk will continue to be in charge of the U-23s, but his first assignment with the War Elephants’ senior side will come in March in their final 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Lebanon.

Thailand have already been eliminated and condemned to a bottom-place finish in Group B following a 3-1 defeat to Kuwait last month, which led to the departure of Surachai Jaturapattarapong.

Kiatisuk took charge of the War Elephants earlier in the year on an interim basis following Winfried Schafer’s resignation, and led them to an impressive 5-1 win over China with a side consisting just four players over the age of 23.

And just last week, he successfully led the U-23s to a 12th SEA Games gold medal after they beat Indonesia in the final.

Kiatisuk remains one of Thailand’s most celebrated footballers having scored 70 goals in 131 games for national team, as well as having spells abroad in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and at English side Huddersfield, although he failed to make a single appearance during his time there.

Teeratep sets title challenge target for Bangkok Glass

Bangkok Glass captain Teeratep Winothai has set his side the target of challenging for the Thai Premier League title in the new campaign.

The Glass Rabbits enjoyed a relatively successful past year as they improved on 2012’s eighth-place finish by breaking into the top five in the league, as well as reaching the final of the FA Cup, where they were beaten 3-1 by Buriram United.

Nonetheless, with one of Thailand’s most-celebrated coaches Attaphol Puspakom at the helm, along with a star-studded roster, Bangkok Glass are a side that are capable of challenging the likes of Buriram, Muangthong United and Chonburi for top honours.

And that is something Teeratep agrees with as he has challenged his team-mates to take the next step in 2014.

“The goal next year is to improve on our performances in the past seasons,” he said on the club’s official website.

“We believe we can be and play like a team of a high standard.

“This year, we hope to be one of the teams challenging to be crowned champions. We must look to finish inside the top three.”

While there is still over two months to go before the start of the new season, Bangkok Glass have been one of the most active teams in the off-season having already made a host of new signings, including Macedonian playmaker Darko Tasevski, Japanese duo Teruyuki Moniwa and Goshi Okubo, and Chonburi utility Jetsadakorn Hemdaeng.

With pre-season training now underway, Teeratep also believes his side are shaping up well for 2014.

“We’re returned to training for the past two weeks and we’re back at around 70 to 80 per cent fitness,” he added.

“Even though we’re taking a break for the New Year, all the players will do their best to maintain their physical condition.

“We’ll definitely be fully fit before the start of the new season.”

2013 was as the year Teeratep came of age, given he has never really lived up to the hype generated when he was on the books of English sides Crystal Palace and Everton as a teenager.

Although his commitment has often been questioned in the past due to his celebrity status in Thailand, he managed to find a new level of consistency last season and seemed the relish the added responsibility of skippering the Glass Rabbits.

Shawky confident of adapting to life at Kelantan

Kelantan’s new signing Mohamed Shawky does not believe he will have any problems adapting to life at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium ahead of the 2014 Malaysia Super League campaign.

The Egypt international was unveiled last month as one of the Red Warriors’ four foreign signings for the upcoming season, and brings along with him a wealth of experience having spent two and a half seasons with former Barclays Premier League side Middlesbrough.

Apart from his time in England, Shawky also had spells overseas with Turkish side Kayserispor and Iraq’s Al Naft, which bodes well for his ability to adapt quickly to Malaysian football.

However, he does admit that it helps having Lebanon international Mohammed Ghaddar and Liberia striker Francis Forkey Doe around, given he used to play with them at Al Ahly.

“I’m glad to have Ghaddar here with me, along with Forkey Doe,” he told Sports247.my.

“This is an advantage for the three of us as it helps us adjust.”

The 32-year-old also revealed that speaking to Ghaddar prior to his move helped convince him that Kelantan were the right choice as the next chapter of his career.

“Before I came here, I spoke to Ghaddar and he told me Kelantan have many supporters and are one of the biggest teams in Malaysia,” Shawky added.

“That is why I accepted the offer to play for Kelantan.”

The defensive midfielder, who was part of the Egypt side that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2008, is also looking forward to learning about Malaysian football from his new team-mates, as well as imparting his own knowledge.

“This is my first time playing in Malaysia and I’ll need to learn the style of play here, including recognising the local players,” Shawky explained.

“It will take time but it’s not a big deal.

“I also bring a bit of experience given I’ve played in other countries and hopefully that can be shared with the local players, once we have strengthened our relationship.”

The fourth player completing the Red Warriors’ foreign quartet for 2014 is Nigerian centre-back Obinna Nwaneri, who has played a key role at the club since joining two years ago.

S.League champions Tampines hand reins to Salim

Reigning S.League champions Tampines Rovers have confirmed that ex-Woodlands Wellington boss Salim Moin will be their coach in 2014.

After months of speculation following the conclusion of the 2013 campaign, which saw the Stags win the league title for a third consecutive year, the club announced on their official website that Salim would be the successor to Tay Peng Kee, who took over the reins on an interim basis following the departure of Nenad Bacina midway through last season.

Salim, a former Singapore international, spent the last two seasons in charge of Woodlands and although he was unable to help them avoid finishing bottom in 2012, they made a stunning improvement this year and finished fifth in the 12-team competition.

The 52-year-old will be assisted by Rafi Ali, while his right-hand man at the Woodlands Stadium, Clement Teo, has followed him to Tampines to take over as team manager.

Meanwhile, having previously announced the signings of forward Noh Alam Shah and goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at, the Stags also confirmed the arrival of five new faces for 2014.

Joining Salim at the Clementi Stadium from the Rams are centre-back Shariff Abdul Samat and wing-back Ang Zhiwei, while midfielder Matthew Abraham joins from Warriors FC.

Having retained just one foreign player in Japanese defender Kunihiro Yamashita, the Stags also revealed two new imports in ex-Geylang International star Norihiro Kawakami and striker Roberto Martinez Gamarra from Independiente.

Furthermore, Tampines also confirmed they would be looking to make three more signings – two foreigners and one local player – to complete their roster for 2014.

Philippines, Myanmar to host 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup

The AFF Suzuki Cup will be held in Philippines and Myanmar for the first time after both countries were named hosts of the 2016 edition.

Since the tournament’s inception in 1996, only five countries – Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia – had had the opportunity to host Southeast Asia’s premier international tournament.

Although Philippines were said to be in the running to be one of the venues for the 2014 edition, the AFF ultimately plumped for Singapore and Vietnam.

However, the Azkals will only have to until a couple more years to enjoy home advantage at the Suzuki Cup for the first time after it was confirmed that they would be co-hosts in 2016.

It is almost certain that the 30,000 capacity Rizal Memorial Stadium will be one of the venues, although a second stadium has yet to be confirmed.

“All I can say is thank you for the trust that has been placed in the PFF [Philippine Football Federation],” PFF president Mariano Araneta said on the AFF’s official website.

“We will work hard to make sure that we deliver a successful event.”

Philippines hosted their first-ever Suzuki Cup game at the Rizal Memorial Stadium last December in the home leg of their semi-final clash against Singapore.

Meanwhile, Myanmar will also be relishing the chance of hosting the Suzuki Cup; with the announcement coming on the day of the conclusion of the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which were mainly held in Naypyidaw.

The Zayarthiri Stadium in Naypyidaw and the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon had been the venues used for the football tournament the the Games, and Zaw Zaw, president of the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) is confident in their ability to deliver a similar success.

“It is indeed an honour for Myanmar,” he said.

“And with the new facilities that have been built, we are very confident that we can do a very good job.”

The AFF also confirmed that the qualifying tournament will take place in Cambodia.

Thailand down Indonesia to claim 12th SEA Games gold

Thailand won the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal for a record 12th time after beating Indonesia 1-0 in Saturday’s final at the Zayarthiri Stadium.

Having beaten the Indonesians 4-1 earlier in the tournament during their Group B meeting, Thailand were slight favourites heading into game and were coming off the back of a 1-0 win over Singapore in the semi-finals.

However, Merah Putih were also high in confidence having knocked out defending champions Malaysia on penalties in the semis following a 1-1 draw.

But it was the War Elephants who drew first blood in the 21st minute when Sarawut Masuk latched onto Thitipan Puangchan’s delightful through-ball and sent an exquisite lob over Kurnia Meiga and into the back of the net.

Indonesia looked to hit back immediately but found it hard to break down the opposition defence, with Pravinwat Boonyong and Theerathon Bunmathan book putting in assured displays for the Thais at the back.

The closest Indonesia came to scoring was in the 73rd minute when Ramdani Lestuhu fired in an effort that beat Kawin Thamsatchanan, only to be denied by the post.

But in the end, Thailand did enough to hold out for the win and claim their 12th gold medal at the Games.

Indonesia: Kurnia Meiga, Alfin Tuasalamony, Mokhamad Syaifuddin, Manahati Lestusen (Andri Ibo 57’), Diego Muhammad, Dedi Kusnandar, Rizky Pellu (Dendi Santoso 80’), Bayu Gatra, Fandi Utomo, Ramdhani Lestaluhu, Yandi Munawar (Yohanes Pahabol 70’).

Thailand: Kawin Thamsatchanan, Artit Daosawang, Pravinwat Boonyong, Sakolwat Skollah, Theerathon Bunmathan, Charyl Chappuis, Thitipan Puangchan (Chananan Pombuppha 62’), Pokklao Anan, Krikirt Thaweekarn, Adisak Kraisorn, Sarawut Masuk (Tanaboon Kesarat 88’).

Singapore pip Malaysia to SEA Games bronze medal

Singapore claimed the bronze medal at the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after beating bitter rivals Malaysia 2-1 at the Zayarthiri Stadium on Saturday.

Despite being one of the region’s strongest sides, the Singaporeans have traditionally struggled to do well at the but were looking to claim the bronze medal for a tenth time, after losing 1-0 to Thailand in the semi-finals on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Harimau Muda were looking to bounce back from the disappointment a penalty shootout defeat to Indonesia following a 1-1 draw, which ended their hopes of a third consecutive gold medal.

But it was Aide Iskandar’s charges who took the lead in the 13th minute after Izham Tarmizi spilled a Zulfahmi Arifin corner, allowing Hariss Harun to stab home the rebound from close range.

Just a minute later, it was 2-0 as Hariss grabbed his second of the game; finding the back of the net with an emphatic finish after Sahil Suhaimi had done well to beat K. Reuben down the left and float a cross into his captain’s path.

Eight minutes after the hour mark, Malaysia did manage to pull one back after Thamil Arasu pounced on a defensive lapse and beat opposition goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

But Singapore managed to prevent their opponents from finding the equaliser, and were left celebrating a bronze-medal finish at the final whistle.

Malaysia: Izham Tarmizi, K. Reuben, Fadhli Shas, Shahrul Saad, Zubir Azmi, Asrif Nashrulhaq (Rozaimi Abdul Rahman 52’), Irfan Fazail (S. Sivanesan 64’), Nazmi Faiz, D. Saarvindran, Thamil Arasu, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri.

Singapore: Izwan Mahbud, Faritz Hameed, Safuwan Baharudin, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Zulfahmi Arifin, Faris Ramli (Nazrul Nazari 81’), Hariss Harun, Gabriel Quak (Shahfiq Ghani 87’), Sahil Suhaimi (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 90’).