Football Tribe Thailand
After narrowly surviving relegation last season, Sukhothai looks eager to turn a new leaf and aspire to reach higher on the Thai League table. The Fire Bats have bought in highly-rated coach Surapong Kongthep, formerly of Samut Prakan City, and invested in the squad to bring in some impressive foreign recruits.
Wonderkid – Suthipong Pisansarb
The 20-year-old goalkeeper is a new member of the Firebat family, joining from SCG Muanthong United during the off-season. Having played as a striker at youth level, Suthipong possesses good distribution, fitting the mould of a modern keeper, and has represented Thai at U19 level. The youngster made the bench for Sukhothai’s first four games of the season but faces stern competition from Tatpicha Aksornsri and first choice Peerapong Ruenin.
Team Leader – John Baggio
The Madagascan attacker is getting ready for his sixth season with Sukhothai, and has become virtually synonymous with the club. After helping his side win promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history back in 2015, Baggio has consistently been the envy many stronger clubs in the division, but has remained loyal to the Fire Bats.
Baggio finished as the league’s top assist-maker in his first top-flight campaign in 2016 and helped them qualify for the AFC Champions League that season through the FA Cup. The side were awarded the continental slot through a draw when the competition was suspended early that year, earning the side a trip to face Asian giants Shanghai SIPG in the playoff round.
Now sporting the captain’s armband for Sukhothai, Baggio has demonstrated leadership by consistently bailing out his side from relegation struggles with excellent individual performances. Now, the diminutive attacker will need to sync up with what could be the league’s most exciting forward line (with the arrival of Evandro and Ibson Melo) if he wants to help push his side to the next level.