Thailand coach Milovan Rajevac has appointed striker Teerasil Dangda as captain for the AFC Asian Cup, which starts next Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.
Teerasil, who just returned from playing for J-League 1 runners-up Sanfrecce Hiroshima, will inherit the captain’s armband from goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanant, who has had to withdraw with a foot injury.
Left back Theerathon Bunmathan and midfielder Chalermpong Kerdkaew have been selected as vice-captains.
Since joining the senior team in 2007, the 30-year-old Teerasil, who will return to Muangthong United next season, has netted an outstanding 42 times in just 95 Thailand games.
Meanwhile, star midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin is confident his side will beat India in their opening match on January 6 in Abu Dhabi.
“I don’t have much information about India but the scouting team will show us their videos soon,” said the 25-year-old player who will start his permanent contract with J-League’s Consadole Sapporo in February. “The first game is always tough but our team has been improving and I’m sure we can earn three points from the opening game.”
Thailand are in a group with Bahrain and hosts UAE – the top two in each of the six groups, plus the four best third-placed teams, go through to the round of 16.
“UAE will be tough to play. All their players have individual talents and are physically big. UAE has a tough league and their players have been training together for a long time,” Chanathip added.
He also believes the War Eelephants need to be more adventurous if they want to make their mark in the tournament.
“We’ve started to train more [on our] attacks. At the Asian level, we have to be more aggressive but also be consistent. If we make mistakes, we could be punished,” he said.