Chonburi coach Jadet Meelarp has confirmed his side’s 23-man roster for next month’s AFC Champions League qualifying campaign.
The Sharks, who earned their chance to play in Asia’s premier club competition after finishing second in the Thai Premier League last season, will face off against Hong Kong outfit Kitchee on February 10 in Preliminary Round 2.
Should they win that match, they will then advance to the final playoff round and will need to beat Japanese giants Kashiwa Reysol in order to book their place in the tournament proper, where they would then enter Group E and be pitted against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Shandong Luneng Taishan and Becamex Binh Duong.
On Tuesday afternoon, the club released the list of players that have been registered with the AFC and there were no real surprises as they named close to a full-strength line-up.
One notable absentee was Brazilian striker Thiago Cunha, who will have to serve a two-match suspension after being sent off for violent behaviour in last year’s qualifier against Beijing Guoan – which ended in a heavy 4-0 defeat for the Thai side.
Without Thiago, who was Chonburi’s top scorer last season with 20 goals in the league despite being hampered by a couple of injury problems, the only other recognised striker that Jadet will be able to call upon is captain Pipob On-mo, although he is now 35 and can no longer be asked to deliver match-winning displays on a consistent basis.
Thus, plenty of the work in the final third will have to fall on the shoulders of the Sharks’ plethora of talented attacking midfielders, including flying wingers Kroekrit Thaweekarn and Nurul Sriyankem, as well as Brazilian playmaker Juliano Mineiro.
Chonburi will however have plenty of experience to call upon in the form of Pipob, 41-year-old pivot Therdsak Chaiman, goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, as well as defenders Niweat Siriwong, Chonlatit Jantakam and Suttinun Phuk-hom, who all have previous experience on the continental stage.
Last season, the Thai Premier League club were able to cruise to a 3-0 win over South China in their opening qualifier, before the defeat to Beijing ended their hopes of advancing to the group stage of the Champions League.
Chonburi squad for 2015 AFC Champions League Playoff Round
Goalkeepers: Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, Watthanapong Tabutda, Worawit Kaewwiharn
Defenders: Noppanon Kachaplayuk, Niweat Siriwong, Suttinun Phuk-hom, Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri, Anderson dos Santos, Chonlatit Jantakam, Alongkorn Pratoomwong, Wisarut Wai-Ngan, Surawich Logarwit
Midfielders: Adul Lahso, Therdsak Chaiman, Phuritad Jarikanon, Kroekrit Thaweekarn, Baworn Tapla, Chakrit Buathong, Warut Sap-So, Nurul Sriyankem, Juliano Mineiroa
Forwards: Pipob On-mo, Wanit Chaisan