Shadow over Thailand's Cup campaign

Shadow over Thailand's Cup campaign
Thailand’s Under-23 football coach Kiatisuk Senamuang is also his country’s most capped player and all-time top scorer. His current goal is for his side to reclaim past glory at the South-east Asian and Asian levels.

A question mark is hanging over Thailand's preparations for the King's Cup tournament next month, with several Thai Premier League clubs still undecided on whether to release their players for the country's most prestigious international tournament.

National coach Kiatisak Senamuang on Monday announced the squad for the 43rd edition of the annual event, set for February 1-7 in Nakhon Ratchasima, unveiling a 20-man list dominated by players who helped the country win last month's ASEAN Championship.

The players will report for national duty next Wednesday before the team heads for the Kirin Valley in Nakhon Ratchasima to begin preparations for the four-team tournament featuring Croatia, North Korea and South Korea.

However, Chonburi FC, one of three Thai representatives in this season's AFC Champions League, said they wanted to hold talks with the 41-year-old Kiatisak before deciding whether to release their four players named in the national squad. The TPL club are due to play in the Champions League play-offs on February 10, just three days after the Cup ends.

"In principle, we're likely to let our four players join the national team but we first need to discuss with Kiatisak which day to release them.

"If we allow them to join the training camp in Nakhon Ratchasima from January 17, and they stay with the team until February 7, it would certainly affect our preparations for the Champions League play-off.

"We have a marketing plan as well, and the players need to take part in a photo shoot to promote our new jerseys for the upcoming season. On January 31, we will officially unveil our team for the new TPL season. So let's see how we can juggle all this with the national team's training schedule," said Jeerasak Joamthong, the club's marketing director.

Thai FA Cup winners Bangkok Glass FC, the other Thai representatives in the continent's premier club competition, also said they want talks with Kiatisak before considering whether to let their players go.

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