SEA Games: Thailand vow to defend football gold medal

Thailand celebrate retaining their SEA Games title after defeating Myanmar 3-0 on June 15, 2015.
Thailand celebrate retaining their SEA Games title after defeating Myanmar 3-0 on June 15, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SEPANG (BERNAMA) - Fifteen-time football champions Thailand are aiming at nothing less than to retain the "mother of all medals" at the SEA Games.

The Thailand Under 22 (U-22) football head coach, Worrawoot Srimaka, said his charges were highly motivated to give their best in the biennial Games after undergoing intensive training prior their arrival to Malaysia. The have also played a series of friendly matches in recent weeks.

"We come here to defend the gold medal we had won two years ago in Singapore and I have prepared the players to be in good shape because we know the competition would be even tougher this year," he said via an interpreter after the team's arrival at the KL International Airport on Saturday (Aug 12).

"Although I brought a large number of new faces, I have full confidence that they will give their best."

In this regard, Worrawoot who won three golds and a silver at the SEA Games during his playing days in the 1990s, noted that all teams in Group B would pose a threat in their bid to retain the gold medal in the 29th edition of the Games.

  Thailand have been drawn in Group B against Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Timor Leste and the Philippines.

"All teams will pose a threat to us, especially Vietnam and Indonesia, who are among the strong medal contenders," said the former Thailand international, who had previously played with Kelantan between 2005 and 2006.

Meanwhile, Worrawoot did not rule out a possible showdown against hosts Malaysia either in the semi-finals or final if both teams managed to escape the hurdles in the preliminary round.

The Thailand U-22 squad or better known as the Young War Elephants, will open their campaign against Indonesia at the Shah Alam Stadium on Aug 15.