THAILAND and Australia will both wear black armbands as a mark of respect to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej when they meet in their World Cup qualifier at Rajamanga National Stadium (14 Nov.)
The hosts are bidding to claim their first points of the campaign in the Asian last-12 World Cup qualifying round against the Socceroos, a fixture that comes little more than a month since the passing away of the Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch.
“We made a request to wear black armbands and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) granted it. Australia team also asked to pay respects to the late king by sporting black armbands as well. Besides, there’ll be a minute’s silence before the kick-off,” said Patis Supapong, the spokesman of the Football Association of Thailand.
Supasin Leelarit, the FAT vice president, said fans will gather outside the venue on the match day to sing the royal anthem at 6pm, an hour prior to the kick-off time.
Meanwhile, national coach Kiatisak Senamuang decided to leave Tana Chanabut, who grabbed the country’s only goal so far in the qualifying round in a 3-1 loss away to UAE last month, out of his final 23-man list. The Port FC striker barely trained with the team during the training camp over the past two weeks.
Tana and Buriram United defender Narubadin Weerawatnodom were the two players excluded from the squad for the fixture. Kiatisak decided to include Suphanburi FC midfielder Charyl Chappuis and Chonburi FC defender Nattaphon Malaphan in a late call-up.
The former national striker is content with the team’s preparations as they concluded a two-week camp at Kirin Valley in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, and returned to the capital yesterday.
“We’re pretty ready for the game. From the first day, all the players showed their dedication and determination. The lads will fight tooth and nail on the match day.
“Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose. The important thing is that everyone should play to their potential and stick to the game plan,” said the 43-year-old, whose side are lying at the bottom of Group B after four games.
Saudi Arabia are leading the way in the group with 10 points, two ahead of the Socceroos. Traditional powerhouses Japan are a further point adrift. UAE are fourth in the table, while Iraq, who earned their first points of the campaign following a 4-0 thumping of the Thais last month, have three.