Football Tribe SEA Editor
Chonburi’s 2019 season was marked by a jarring mid-season turnaround, as the side’s development of young players under coach and former player Jakkaphan Punpee was undone by new manager Sasom Pobprasert’s decision to bring in a number of veteran players, catapulting the squad’s average age to be amongst the highest in the division.
Unfortunately, the side only managed another consecutive 7th place finish, and will be eager to stop their mid-table stagnation heading into 2020.
Wonderkid – Kritsada Kaman
Anyone watching the AFC U23 Championships wouldn’t have believed that Thailand’s defensive midfielder was just 21 years old. Kritsada has been a stalwart of the Chonburi defense for a number of seasons now, and looks fit to be a future captain for the Sharks.
Starting his career as a center-back, Kritsada has since moved into a defensive midfield role under the coaching of Sasom and has been recognized in that role by Akira Nishino. Given the lack of ‘defense-first’ midfield anchors for the national team, it is highly possible that a place in the senior team could be on the horizon for Kritsada, but the Sharks’ Number 5 will need to have a consistent season in order to earn that spot.
Key Signing – Dragan Boskovic
The experienced Thai League veteran may not be at the level he once was, but Boskovic brings a level of tenacity and excitement that will surely give Chonburi a boost. The man renowned for scoring 38 goals from 33 appearances for Bangkok United back in 2017 has shown that he is still hungry for first-team action, but he will need to shake off the rust after being on the sidelines for the second half of last season with Port FC.
Team Leader – Teerathep Winothai
The former Thai international has arguably become the face of Chonburi since arriving during the second half of last season. While the club has seemingly abandoned their drive towards youth-orientated success with Sasom at the helm, the arrival of Leesaw and his fellow seasoned veterans has generated excitement at Chonburi and made for some entertaining games.
Similar to Boskovic, Teerathep’s best years with Bangkok United are behind him now, but the energy which the pair bring will be central to any success the club could have this season. The side’s long-term project has led to an unfortunate stagnation and loss of interest, which Leesaw seeks to fix. The charismatic forward and his fellow charges could be the key to sparking interest in the club’s fortunes once again.