Friday, December 14, 2012


Back To The Future

The Thai national team were worried. Back in July the coach, Winnie Schaeffer, was moved to write an open letter to the Football Association calling for them to get serious and put in place a programme for the team ahead of the ASEAN Football Federation Cup.

The previous cup had seen the Thais suffer the ignomy of not getting out of the group stage and there was a feeling the nation's team had been sacrificed on the alter of a powerful domestic league with its influential club owners.

Schaeffer was well aware of this prompting his letter.

Now the Thais are back in the final where they will clash with Singapore and it is like normal service has resumed in ASEAN.

Since the biennial competition begin in 1996 both Singapore and Thailand have won the trophy three times. Only Vietnam, in 2008, and Malaysia two years ago have broken their dominance that will continue when they go head to head next week.

Based on form perhaps the Thais have the slight edge but Singapore have proved a tough nut to crack. And for the Lions there is much pride in the fact that Khairul Amri has finally shown what he can do when he spends time on the pitch and not in the treatment room; it was his cracking goal that finally defeated the Philippines in the semi final.

Singapore really got into the Philippines at the Jalan Besar Stadium with a series of crunching tackles in the opening minutes sending out a powerful message they wanted their title back.

The Thais brushed aside Malaysia quite effortlessly in Bangkok, eventually winning 2-0. A Malaysian player was mysteriously sent off just before half time but it didn't have much impact; the Thais were already dominant.

Singapore might want to double check the training facilities they get offered in Bangkok. The Malaysians were less than happy with the field and facilities they had.

1996 Thailand
1998 Singapore
2000 Thailand
2002 Thailand
2004 Singapore
2007 Singapore
2008 Vietnam
2010 Malaysia

One final word about the final. The Thais have been beaten finalists twice; Singapore have yet to lose in the final.

Feel for Indonesia beaten finalists 4 times?
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