Thais aim for berth at Futsal World Cup

Thailand futsal players take part in a training session in the UAE on Wednesday.

Thailand are confident that they will finish off Iraq in their two-legged play-off for a place in the 2021 Fifa Futsal World Cup.

Both legs will be played at the Khorfakkan Futsal Club Hall in the United Arab Emirates with the first scheduled for Thursday and the second on Tuesday.

Today’s game kicks off at 4pm, Thai time.

In the other play-off, Vietnam face Lebanon on Sunday and May 25 at the same venue.

The winners of the two play-offs will complete the list of Asian representatives at the World Cup in Lithuania in September.

Japan, Iran and Uzbekistan have already earned berths in the finals thanks to their results in the recent AFC Futsal Championship.

Thailand striker Muhammad Ousmanmusa said Iraq have a couple of players from their U23 team who beat Thailand a few years ago.

“We want to take revenge against Iraq,” he said.

“We will do our best and want to qualify for the World Cup again.”

Thailand have previously played in five finals.

To beat Iraq, Thailand must be sharper up front, according to their coach Jose Maria Mendes, who is better known as Pulpis.

The Thais beat the UAE 1-0 in a warm-up match at the weekend and Pulpis said they have to improve their finishing.

“We had 26 shots but could only score one goal,” said the Spanish coach.

Thailand manager said the team would receive about three million baht in bonus from sponsors if they qualify for the World Cup finals.

The World Cup Lithuania 2021 will get underway on Sept 12, with the final to be held in the city of Klaipeda on Oct 3.

Theerathon out of qualifiers

Defender Theerathon Bunmathan has pulled out of the Thai national football team for next month’s World Cup qualifiers due to Covid-19 restrictions in Japan, the Football Association of Thailand said yesterday.

Theerathon is playing for Yokohama F Marinos in the J-League and those who enter the country are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

He is afraid that this would affect his career, according to reports.

Striker Teerasil Dangda has earlier withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

The Thais are preparing for their remaining three Group G matches of Asia’s second qualifying stage for the 2022 World Cup.

The War Elephants will play against Indonesia on June 3, the UAE on June 7 and Malaysia on June 15.

The matches will take place in the UAE and Thailand are scheduled to fly to the country tomorrow.

New Thai league season

The Football Association of Thailand announced yesterday the 2021/2022 Thai League 1 season will begin on July 31 and end on May 21.

The coronavirus-hit 2020/21 campaign ended in March with BG Pathum United winning their first ever Thai League 1 crown.