Unsportsmanlike behavior of Thailand assistant coach reported to AFF

By Lam Thoa   January 15, 2023 | 03:06 am PT
Unsportsmanlike behavior of Thailand assistant coach reported to AFF
Thailand assistant Wasapol Kaewpaluk during the press conference after the AFF Cup 2022 final first leg at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on January 13, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) has received a report on Thailand assistant coach Wasapol Kaewpaluk's unsportsmanlike behavior after the first leg of the AFF Cup final against Vietnam on Friday.

After Thailand drew host Vietnam 2-2 at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Kaewpaluk, Thailand head coach Mano Polking and midfielder Sarach Yooyen attended a press conference. When the coaches and players sat down, Kaewpaluk stood in the middle of the room, walking back and forth with a provocative look to the Vietnamese media.

Despite being asked to calm down and respect everyone, Kaewpaluk maintained his behavior. Coach Polking witnessed the incident and was not happy with Kaewpaluk, so he repeatedly told him to settle in his seat for the press conference to start.

According to the plan, Thailand would hold a press conference before Vietnam. However, when the organizers told them to start, Polking said the players were taking a shower and asked them to wait for 15 minutes. Therefore, Vietnam had to start the press conference first. However, when Thailand were waiting for their turn, they were not satisfied. Some of Polking's assistants got angry, kicked the door of the conference room and shouted.

The incident was recorded in the match report. The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) also reported it to AFF. Kaewpaluk is likely to be warned and closely monitored in the second leg of the final at Thammasat Stadium in Bangkok on Monday.

Wasapol Kaewpaluk's unsportsmanlike behavior in the press conference after the AFF Cup final first leg between Thailand and Vietnam in Hanoi, January 13, 2023.

Thailand used to be the leading football country in Southeast Asia, with nine SEA Games gold medals, five AFF Cup titles and made it to the final qualifying round of the 2014 World Cup.

However, the arrival of coach Park Hang-seo has helped Vietnam achieve immense success in the past five years, winning gold medals at SEA Games 30 and 31, along with the 2018 AFF Cup title. Other feats achieved by Vietnam included the runner-up position at the 2018 U23 AFC Championship, reaching the semifinals of the 2018 Asian Games and especially advancing to the final qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup and defeating China 3-1 then drawing 1-1 draw against Japan.

The 2022 AFF Cup is coach Park's last tournament with Vietnamese football. After drawing 2-2 at home in the first leg, Vietnam need to win or draw 3-3 or more to win the title. If it’s a 2-2 draw, the two teams must play extra time.

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