Thailand FA wants 'hunter' to fulfil World Cup dream

Thailand FA wants 'hunter' to fulfil World Cup dream

FINDING THE PATH: FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang yesterday.

Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompunmuang is looking for an “experienced hunter” to guide the national team to the World Cup.

The FAT is in search of a new national team coach to replace Kiatisak Senamuang who quit on Friday following two heavy defeats in World Cup qualifiers.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Pol Gen Somyot said he preferred a coach who has guided a country to the World Cup finals.

He compared the desired one to an “experienced hunter” who has gone through a forest and knows the route.

“The ‘hunter’ would know how to take us to the destination because he knows the route well,” Pol Gen Somyot said.

“This means the new coach would be a foreigner. But the problem is whether we will have money to pay the one we want or he will be available or not. We may not get the one we prefer, and the one we get may not be good enough.”

He said the FAT had received applications for the job from several coaches from around the world.

Reports claim among them is Argentina’s Alejandro Sabella who guided his country to the final match at the 2014 World Cup.

The Thais are out of contention after a 3-0 home loss to Saudi Arabia and a 4-0 defeat to Japan in the previous two games in Group B of Asia’s final qualifying stage for the 2018 World Cup.

The War Elephants are at the bottom of the group after six defeats and one draw with three matches left.

Somyot said the FAT may hire a caretaker coach for the remaining three games.

“The remaining three matches are meaningless for us. We want young players to gain experience from the matches,” he said.

He said it was not likely the country would secure its first ever World Cup berth in the near future but was upbeat about Thailand’s chances of achieving the feat at the 2026 finals.

World’s football governing body Fifa will increase the number of World Cup participants from 32 to 48 at the 2026 finals and Asia is likely to get eight slots, up from the current four or five.

Kiatisak, meanwhile, said he would not coach a Southeast Asian country. “I don’t want to coach an Asean country because I don’t want to fight against my country,” he said.

Reports in Vietnam claim Kiatisak, 43, may accept the coaching job at Hoang Ahn Gia Lai, the Vietnamese club which he used to play for and be coach. But he said he would not take a new job at the moment because he has to take a coaching course.