Thais want to make it special for ‘Tee’
J1 League stars Theerathon, Chanathip and Teerasil target victory over Trinidad and Tobago today
>> Thailand’s trio of Japan-based stars have vowed to provide a fitting send-off to veteran goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool with a victory over Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly tonight.
The international ‘A’ match, which will serve as a testimonial for Sinthaweechai, will kick off at 6pm in Suphan Buri and will be televised live by Thairath TV.
Thailand coach Milovan Rajevac has promised to name the veteran goalkeeper, who plays for Thai League 1 side Suphanburi, in his starting line-up.
The Serbian coach is also keen on fielding Thailand’s three J1 League players — Theerathon Bunmathan, Teerasil Dangda and Chanathip Songkrasin — in the match.
Thailand are fresh from their 1-0 away victory over Hong Kong in a friendly on Thursday night.
Trinidad and Tobago, who were responsible for shattering the United States’ dream of making the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, are a stronger team but Theerathon, Chanathip and Teerasil remain unruffled.
They all echoed similar sentiments for Sinthaweechai yesterday.
Theerathon promised an all-out effort “if I am given a chance to play in the match.”
He added: “Phi Tee [Sinthaweechai’s nickname] is a thorough professional and a great role model for all Thai players.
“He has the respect of every player in the team, so we can expect an extra effort from everyone.”
Thailand’s crafty midfielder Chanathip predicted an “interesting” battle with Trinidad and Tobago.
“I want the Thai football fans to come and watch the game at the stadium,” said Chanathip.
“I realise it could be a costly trip for those outside Suphan Buri but I am still hoping that they will come so that we can have a special atmosphere for this special occasion for Sinthaweechai.”
Teerasil, one of the best strikers to play for the War Elephants, also praised Sinthaweechai’s “brotherly attitude”.
“He has always been more than just a teammate for many players, including me,” said Teerasil.
“I consulted him time and again, whenever I was faced with problems both on and off the field.
“I am very keen to make this a memorable occasion for him. Hopefully we will beat Trinidad and Tobago.”
However, coach Rajevac is expecting a tough battle against Trinidad and Tobago. “They [Trinidad and Tobago] are much stronger than Hong Kong,” he said.
“They are from the Concacaf zone. Their players have speed and move the ball around very well, so it should be an interesting match. I expect the pace of the game to be high and there won’t be many long balls.”
Veteran Thai goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool takes part in a training session.