Thailand’s national coach Milovan Rajevac is vowing that his players will take a serious approach into today’s game against Timor-Leste (East Timor) as the five-time champions launch their AFF Suzuki Cup defence at Rajamangala National Stadium.
Although the islanders are not predicted to pose much of a threat in the tournament, the Serbian coach will send out his strongest line-up to ensure they secure three points ahead of tougher group B tasks against Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
“We are the favourites but we must not underestimate any team,” said Rajevac. “We have respect for every team and we take every match seriously. We will never be safe throughout the match until the final outcome.”
Friday’s game (kickoff 7pm), which will be shown live on Channel 7, is theoretically an away game for Thailand but Timor have opted to play all their matches offshore.
“I have faith in all my players. We have strong players in every position who can deliver good results. It’s important that we play our own style,” said Rajevac.
He is more concerned with the remaining games with Indonesia on November 17 in Bangkok, Philippines on November 21 in Bacolod and Singapore on November 25 in Bangkok. Only the top two in each of the two groups will advance to the semi-finals.
“The way we handle the remaining matches is important. We will play according to our game plan and expect a positive outcome for our team,” the Serbian coach added.
“We’ve done everything according to the plan and have a good preparation. We are completely ready for the first match against Timor Leste,” he added
For new team’s captain Chalermpong Kerdkaew, he admitted was under a bit pressure to be assigned as the skipper but is confident over two week training would lead his team to another success in the Cup.
“We have enough time training together and have two good friendly game wins coming to the Cup. We are very enthusiastic and confident we can win,” the 31-year-old defence said.
For Timor Leste’s coach Norio Tsukiate of Japan, he admitted was a bit disappointed his side would miss a chance to test their mettle against three Thai stars (Teerasil Dangda, Chanathip Songkrasin and Teerathon Boonmatan) who are committed with their duties at the J-League.
Ahead of the match, a minute silence will be observed to pay respect to Leicester City’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprapha who was killed two weeks ago in a helicopter accident at the King Power Stadium.