Football: Under-fire Kiatisuk steps down as Thailand coach

 Thailand's coach Kiatisuk Senamuang reacting during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification soccer match against Saudi Arabia at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 23, 2017.
Thailand's coach Kiatisuk Senamuang reacting during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification soccer match against Saudi Arabia at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 23, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

BANGKOK • Embattled Kiatisuk Senamuang yesterday decided to end his role as the Thailand football team coach after days of speculation over his future, following the kingdom's dismal campaign in the Asian World Cup qualifiers.

The former national striker announced his abrupt departure from the post he has held since 2013 on his Instagram account, just days after his charges slumped to a 4-0 defeat away to Japan on Tuesday.

It was their sixth defeat in seven group games in the third round of Asian qualifying for Russia 2018. They are bottom of Group B with one point.

Since the team's return from Japan on Wednesday, Kiatisuk's future had been the subject of intense media speculation even though the trainer, who initially took charge of the team in a caretaker capacity following the departure of German Winfried Schafer, had signed a one-year extension last month.

"I would like to thank all for the support that my staff and I have received over the past four to five years. It's the ultimate honour for me to have a chance to work as the coach of the national team.

"Today, I would like to announce my decision to end my role as the national team trainer. I'll clear all the work for the employers within 90 days. I'm thankful to every player, my coaching team, all the fans as well as my family for always standing by my side," the 43-year-old wrote.

Earlier yesterday, the president of the Football Association of Thailand, Somyot Poompanmoung, hit back at Kiatisuk, saying he does not have the right to disband the squad because of their faltering campaign.

Somyot's outburst came in response to Kiatisuk's comment that it was up to the Thai FA boss whether to discard the playing squad and the coach.

THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'Under-fire Kiatisuk steps down as Thailand coach'. Print Edition | Subscribe