Head coach of the national under23 team, Bulgarian Zoran Jankovic, remained positive despite the absence of several key players as his team left for China yesterday for next week’s AFC Under23 Championship.
The team will kick off action against North Korea on January 10 in Jiangqyin without Shinnaphat Leeaoh, Suriya Singmui, Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul and Chaowat Veerachat due to injuries and personal commitments.
“Although we won’t have several players, I cannot complain much about that judging from the fact that we have been training continuously over the past month and have already tried a few things,” said the Bulgarian coach, whose side finished a dismal fourth in the M100 Cup. They also lost 10 to Chonburi FC and 10 to Pattaya United in friendly games last month.
“We haven’t had good results recently. We tested some new players in the game with Chonburi and tried some tactics in the game with Pattaya,” Jankovic said.
However, the Bulgarian will get a helping hand from national senior team coach Milovan Rajevac who will fly to China for the warmup game with Australia this Saturday at the Qiantan Park Sports.
“Rajevac will help make decisions in several areas, including in the areas where we are having a problem. The game against Australia will be tough and we might use two teams [one for each half]. The players will have to adjust to the conditions quickly as the temperature is 5 degrees Celsius with a lot of winds and some rain,” Jankovic said.
After the opening game with North Korea, Thailand, who are placed in Group 3, will play Japan on January 13, and Palestine on January 16. A total of 16 teams, in four groups of four each, take part in the event with the top two from each advancing to the quarterfinals.