A full house on Saturday in the AFF Suzuki Cup between Thailand and Indonesia is what Thailand’s skipper Chalermpong Kerdkaew believed would propel his side to their second straight Group B win.
Following a disappointing crowd of just 8,000 in last week’s opening game against Timor Leste, which the home side won 7-0, the Thai players are hoping to see more support from their fans at the Rajamangala National Stadium this weekend.
“I’ve heard that more than 23,000 tickets have been sold, which is really good news,” said the 32-year-old Nakhon Ratchasima player and new skipper. “For players, there’s nothing more we wish to see more than a full stadium.”
With coach Milovan Rajevac focusing on shoring up the Thailand defence, the team has now kept three straight clean sheets, including two friendly games against Hong Kong and Trinidad and Tobago last month.
Chalermpong believes they are now moving in the right direction.
“Actually our defenders are quite good but they were not quite disciplined during games before, so the coach has changed their attitude and made them more committed to our game plan,” he said.
He says the three consecutive wins have also improved the mood at the training camp as the players’ confidence grows.
However, he admitted there would be tougher challenges ahead, with the remaining games in Group B against Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore.
“This is just the beginning. There is a lot of work to do out there. We need to listen to the coach and fix a few things that need improving,” he said.
The players have also had more than two weeks to work with Rajevac, longer than usual, and Chalermpong believes that is one of the factors that has helped make the team more solid.
“Against Indonesia it will be a lot tougher. I believe we can conquer any team as long as we are not careless during the game,” added Chalermpong.
Thailand play Indonesia at 6.30pm on Saturday and the game will be shown live on Channel 7.