Thailand miss superstar Chanathip in Asian Cup

By Hieu Luong   January 4, 2024 | 12:36 am PT
Thailand miss superstar Chanathip in Asian Cup
Thailand's midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin at the 2020 AFF Cup. Photo by Football Association of Thailand
Star midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin is one of Thailand's two major absences at this year's Asian Cup due to injury, besides veteran striker Teerasil Dangda.

Both did not play in Thailand's 5-0 loss to Japan on Jan. 1. Coach Masatada Ishii hoped Songkrasin could return in time but his recovery did not go as expected.

Songkrasin, 30, is considered the best playmaker in Southeast Asia but he has been struggling with injuries over the past two years.

Dangda is a highly experienced striker. The 35-year-old is only seven goals and seven matches away from beating legend Kiatisuk Senamuang for most goals and appearances for the Thai national team.

Thailand announced the list of 26 players for Asian Cup on Wednesday. The five names that still remained since the previous tournament in 2019 are goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen, defenders Theerathon Bunmathan, Pansa Hemviboon and Suphan Thongsong, and striker Supachai Chaided.

Despite the absence of two stars, Thailand squad still have many talents in their prime.

The team have 21 players from big clubs in Thailand such as Buriram United with five players, BG Pathum United and Port FC with four each and Bangkok United with three.

The two players in Europe are right back Nicholas Mickelson of Danish club Odense Boldklub and striker Suphanat Mueanta of Belgian club OH Leuven.

Other notable names are midfielder Elias Dolah, who plays for Bali United Club in Indonesia, Ekanit Panya and Supachok Sarachat who play in Japan for Urawa Red Diamonds and Consadole Sapporo.

Thailand will gather the team on Jan. 7 and leave for Qatar on Jan. 11. They will play the opening match of group F against Kyrgyzstan on Jan. 16, before facing Oman on the 21st and Saudi Arabia on the 25th.

This is the seventh Asian Cup that Thailand have participated in. The team's best record was reaching the round of 16 in 2019.

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