Thailand have named a formidable 20-man squad for the Under-23 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which start on Saturday.
Leading the way for the War Elephants are Buriram United left-back Theerathon Bunmathan, Muangthong United goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan and BEC Tero Sasana attacking midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin, who all starred at last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.
In particular, the presence of Kawin in goal will be a huge boost given he is arguably Southeast Asia’s best goalkeeper at the moment but has had a horrible run with injuries this year.
Theerathon, who has also been named captain by coach Kiatisuk Senamuang, is expected to be part of a defence also consisting of Muangthong right-back Artit Daosawang and Bangkok Glass’ Pravinwat Boonyong, who is coming off an outstanding season in the Thai Premier League.
There was also a spot for Thai-Swiss Charyl Chappuis, who was part of the Switzerland side that won the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and Buriram team-mate Adisak Kraisorn.
Adisak is expected to lead the Thailand attack following an impressive year with Buriram, although should Kiatisuk opt to play with two out-and-out strikers, he will have another excellent option in Chananan Pombuppha, who was Osotspa Saraburi’s top scorer in the league this season with ten goals.
Apart from Chanathip and Chappuis, the likes of Sarawut Masuk and Pokkhao Anan will also be expected to play key roles for the War Elephants in the engine room.
Thailand squad for 2013 SEA Games
Goalkeepers: Kawin Thamsatchanan (Muangthong United), Ukrit Wongmeema (Ratchaburi), Chanin Sae-Eae (Pattaya United)
Defenders: Theerathon Bunmathan (Buriram United), Artit Daosawang (Muangthong United), Narubodin Weerawatnodom, Peerapat Notechaiya (both BEC Tero Sasana), Pravinwat Boonyong (Bangkok Glass), Sakolwat Skollah (Bangkok FC)
Midfielders: Pokkhao Anan (Police United), Charyl Chappuis (Buriram United), Sarawut Masuk, Thitipan Puangchan (both Muangthong United), Chanathip Songkrasin, Tanaboon Kesarat (both BEC Tero Sasana), Krikirit Thaweekarn (Chonburi), Chutipol Thongtae (Ratchaburi)
Forwards: Adisak Kraisorn (Buriram United), Chananan Pombuppha (Osotspa Saraburi), Pakorn Prempark (Police United)