Singapore Under-23 coach Aide Iskandar admits Thailand’s speed is likely to pose a real threat to his side in Thursday’s 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games semi-final at the Zayyarthiri Stadium.
However, the former Singapore captain believes his charges have what it takes to contain their opponents and book their place in the final for the first time since 1989.
The War Elephants have been in excellent form so far in the tournament, finishing top of Group B ahead of runners-up Indonesia and eliminated hosts Myanmar, as well as Timor Leste and Cambodia.
Kiatisuk Senamuang’s charges were the only side in their group to avoid defeat and were also the top scorers with eight goals in four games, half of which came in a 4-1 demolition of Indonesia.
In particular, Thailand have really caught the eye with the speed they possess all across the park, which comes as no surprise given they have the likes of Chanathip Songkrasin, Theerathon Bunmathan, Pokkhao Anan and Thitipan Puangchan in their ranks.
But while Aide admits it will be a challenge, he has backed his team, who currently boast the best defensive record after conceding just two goals in four Group A games, to keep Thursday’s opponents at bay.
“They [Thailand] have speedy players and this is one thing which we must be wary of,” he said on the AFF’s official website.
“We must make sure that they do not exploit it to the full extent, but I believe in my boys.
“We have shown that we can play good football and also we can defend well, where we only conceded two goals in the group stage.”
Nonetheless, the 38-year-old, who was regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s best defenders during his playing days, believes there is still room for improvement.
“There were some mistakes for sure with the set-pieces,” Aide added.
“Although the more pertinent point is that we should not be conceding those freekicks in the first place.”
While Thailand do have the quality to carve open any opposition defence, they are likely to face their toughest test yet on Thursday against a backline marshalled by Safuwan Baharudin, and also boasting the likes of Faritz Hameed, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah and goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.