Football Tribe Thailand
Apart from the horrendous refereeing standards across the league, and there are MANY on show on matchday 10, this week’s main talking point has to be Muangthong United’s demise at the hands of Samut Prakan City FC – a team packed with ex-coaching staff and academy graduates.
Confidence within The Kirin’s camp was high following their 3-0 thrashing of PT Prachuap FC 3-0 in the FA Cup, and head coach Yoon Jong-Hwan has stressed the importance of continuity prior to kick off. So it was a shock to see the 4 times Thai League winners in such shambles on Saturday night.
The defeat meant Muangthong remain bottom of the Thai League with only 7 points from 10 games, sending shockwaves across the club. Things got heating to the point that former chairman Rawi Lothong, father of the club’s current chairman, called an urgent team meeting with the all the coaching staff and players in the middle of the pitch which lasted almost an hour after the game ended.
According to an article by smmsport, Muangthong United’s mouthpiece paper, opinions within the club is still divided on how they are in their “lowest point” at the moment. The article, published a day from the catastrophe, also quote a story by team manager Kan Janrat that many players are struggling to cope with the increasing pressure due to their poor runs of results. “Some were even in tears after the game,” Janrat admitted.
Rivalries aside, it’s alarming to see a team of Muangthong stature fall so hard. Yet, the fact that it was Surapong Kongthep’s Samut Prakan City FC who’s doing the beating really rub salt into the wound.
Muangthong United’s miserable situation is, undeniably, the culmination of countless transfer mistakes, inadequate recruitment and questionable managerial appointments over the past few seasons. But one area I’d like to discuss today is how the club underestimated their academy, and coach Kongthep himself.
The Samut Prakan City boss began his coaching career as Muangthong United’s youth team manager, and led to side to two consecutive Thailand U19 Championship titles in 2014 and 2015. That was the club’s first national youth championships, breaking rivals Buriram United’s dominance at that level; and an accolade that they have never won since.
In Kongthep, the Kirin had a young, motivated coach who knew the club and players well. They also have a group of promising talents who could potentially fill up most of the first team slot. In hindsight, many of Kongthep’s boys from the youth team are more than good enough to start in Muangthong current XI. Quite a few would even go on to represent Thailand’s U23 and the senior team.
Captain Peeradon Chamratsamee, Picha Autra, and goalkeeper Patiwat Khammai were three former youth product, trained under Kongthep at Muangthong, who impressed at the SCG Stadium. Attacking midfielder Picha Autra was the MVP at the 2014 Thailand U19 Championship and had a 3-week trial with Atlético Madrid while Peeradon has been competing for places with the senior national team for a few years now.
These three are only a small sample of players who should’ve been given more chance to prove their worth at Muangthong. And the same goes for their coach.
It was evident by the intensity of the Sea Fang’s play that the game meant a lot to them. For many of the players, this was their chance for revenge. Kongthep had more faith in them than Muangthong ever did, and it was perhaps the perfect time to repay their head coach.
After the match, the winning coach gave a quick press conference before excusing himself to join in with the squad’s customary changing room celebration photo. Such an awesome demonstration of what he, and the team, thought of the result. They were superior in each and every aspect of the game. They were the deserving winner and Muangthong is right where they belong. Simple as that.