Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thailand's Manchester trio

I'm a fan of the Thai national football squad. I first saw them live in the Beer Chang Tournament two years ago. I was impressed how the young squad held their own against the EPL teams. Their off the ball movement and overlapping play was strong. Of course though, we can never read too much into friendly games.

The next big match I watched was the second leg of the Singapore game. The squad and the Thai supporters really turned on the passion for that one, and it was gutting to see them lose.

But for all my support, I know the reality is that Thai football still has some way to go. The local league may have changed its name to include the "Premier League" moniker but the product still remains Sunday league standard.

This raises the inevitable question: why did Manchester City purchase three Thai players? No other club was watching them, no big deals had been offered, there was not even a scouting report to speak of. With great respect to the players, I don't think they would get into the Southampton Reserves on their own merit, let alone the Man City first team.

After all, the best players from Thailand seem to be headed for Vietnam right now, and the standard there is still low compared to the top world leagues.

The reality seems to be that football was not the priority in this transaction.

But still it's good for Thai football right? It raises the profile of Thai players, surely? Not really. Foreign players sitting in the reserves is nothing new for English fans. Once the news dies down, these three players could quickly be forgotten unless they work unexpected miracles. If raising the profile of the game in Thailand is a target, then why not spend that transfer money on Thailand's first football academy instead? Even if some parties moved to block the deal for political reasons, it could be funded by a proxy pr even as a charity.

That doesn't mean that some good can't come out of it. If the City board stay true to their word and build talent schools in Thailand, it could encourage a new standard of football in the Kingdom.And if those in power in Thailand are unhappy with politics being played out in football, perhaps they should do something to improve the local game instead of just paying lip service to the world's greatest sport.

1 comment:

Ross said...

Hey mate, Thaksin made it part of his take over deal that when he bought City, that City would then look at seriously bringing over some Thai players.......which they so did, but yea like you say they have no chance of even making the reserves realisticly.