ThaiBev puts value on goals against giants Barcelona
Finding the net against a world-class team like Barcelona is no doubt priceless for many players, but ThaiBev has put a value on it by offering Bt1 million for each goal scored by Thailand against the Spanish giants next month.
The “Chang Champions Cup-FC Barcelona Asian Tour 2013” exhibition match on August 7 pits the national side against a Barcelona side bristling with world-class talents, including Argentine maestro Lionel Messi, named the World Player of the Year for the last three years, at Rajamangala National Stadium.
It should be a sure thing for Barca players, who won their fourth Spanish league title in five years last term, to get their names on the score sheet against a Thai side languishing a lowly 138th in the world rankings, with most pundits predicting a heavy win for the Catalan club.
The big question is whether the hosts can give the home crowd something to cheer about – most teams find it difficult enough to take the ball off Barca, let alone score a goal against them.
So ThaiBev, who are sponsors of Barca, wanted to give the home players added incentive.
“We have a special surprise for the Thailand team today, before they face a squad many fans believe may as well be from outer space, for the way they play. We will give them Bt1 million for each goal they score against Barca,” Sorakrit Latthitham, ThaiBev’s senior marketing manager, told reporters yesterday.
Former national striker Kiatisak “Zico” Senamuang will be in the home dugout for the Barca fixture and he confirmed that a Thai side he calls “the new generation” would give their utmost, incentive or no incentive.
“Of course, all the lads and me are excited by the prospect of facing such a top team as Barca. We will field our best possible team. We beat China 5-1 in a friendly recently and we want to prove it was not a fluke. We want to see how we fare against such strong opponents.
“We will use the ‘new gen’ players, who mostly come from the SEA Games squad and are good enough to play for the senior side. It’s a young team and they will run all day.
“Every player is desperate to get a call-up for this match. In the past it has cost a lot of money just to bring one Barca player over here, but, this time it’s the whole team! We’re even more fortunate that [Barca’s latest big signing] Neymar, who just helped win the Confederations Cup for Brazil, will be visiting as well.
“I don’t know when we will get such an opportunity again. No doubt the players will feel excited come the day, but we will give it our all to represent the country,” said Kiatisak, who is currently in charge of the Thai team on a caretaker basis following the departure of German trainer Winfried Schaefer.
Surapol Utintu, executive director for Thaibev Marketing, revealed the firm would make the most of the Barca trip with the activities to help football development at the grassroots level.
“We’re committed to supporting Thai football at all levels, from youth and community all the way up to the national team. We’ll offer a once-in-a lifetime experience for youngsters from the ThaiBev Academy and our football club partners such as Chon Buri FC and Buriram United to attend a Barca training session for inspiration in reaching their targets.”