Courtesy: Asean Football Web SiteTHAILAND STILL THE TEAM TO BEAT IN AFF FUTSAL 2012APRIL 18, 2012
BANGKOK (18 April 2012) – Indonesia might have come into the AFF Futsal Championship 2012 as the defending champions but there is no denying that the team still to beat this year is Thailand.
The Thais, who have won the tournament for a record seven straight times, gave the last tournament in 2010 in Hanoi a miss which in turn saw Indonesia beating Malaysia 5-0 in the final.
And this time round with ten teams taking part – the biggest ever in the history of the competition since 2001 – all thoughts are on the Thais and how best to get by them at their own back yard.
“This is the biggest ever AFF Futsal tournament with so many teams taking part and we are all excited at looking at the level of Futsal being played in the region. We welcome all challengers of course,” said Thailand assistant team manager Suttipun Wanwinwes at the pre-match press conference this afternoon.
With Thailand busy preparing for the FIFA Futsal World Cup which they will be hosting in November this year, the venue of Chanchai Acadium within the compounds of the Bangkok Thonburi University is being used as the arena in which teams will do battle.
But if there is any yardstick to go by, then the recent AFC Futsal Championship is a good benchmark where it showed that while Thailand might have emerged victorious, the gap between teams in ASEAN are getting smaller.
In the preliminary round of the AFC meet, Thailand beat Indonesia 5-2 while in the final match, the Thais won 3-1.
“Our aim is to make the final of this year’s meet and we would like to play Thailand again. I think that we have taken some lessons from the AFC meet and we would like to indent further improvement for this AFF Futsal Championship,” added Israqul Subroto, the chief coach of Indonesia.
As the Malaysian delegation led by Dr Hamdan Khalib aptly pointed out that while the gap against Thailand might be getting smaller, there are three teams which are on the same level where other than Indonesia, both Malaysia and Vietnam are able to deliver upsets.
“We are also aiming for a place in the final where we feel that we have an even chance of making it,” added Dr Hamdan.
Countered Tran Anh Tu, the team manager of Vietnam: “I think that we have improved a lot in these several months and we would like to make further improvement from what we have shown at the AFC meet recently (Vietnam emerged fourth losing 4-3 to Australia in the fight for third place).”
With the likes of Myanmar, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Cambodia hovering in the background, there is never a foregone conclusion in the game of Futsal where after all, losing focus could lead to several goals being scored on a trot.
Which brings us to Laos who are making their debut in the competition and also Brunei, who are making a return after being banned for two years by FIFA.
“This is our first time taking part and we would like to assess our standard as against the other teams in the region. There is always the first time for everything and I hope that we can show a good account of ourselves,” said Sysaveuy Saysanasy, the team manager of Laos.
Added Morni Zakaria, the team manager of Brunei: “we are making a return to international football after the ban by FIFA. And we have been hard at work already where we have a Futsal league in place. We hope that we can be competitive in this tournament.”
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari