The Sandpit’s Port FC Player of the Month for February – Voting Closed

 

Voting opens today!

Every month, The Sandpit is going to choose the Port players we think have played the best, and let our readers decide who should be named Player of the Month. This month’s nominees, in order of squad number are…

 

Sergio Suarez (5)

Pakorn Prempak (9)

Siwakorn Jakkuprasart (16)

Rattanai Songsangchan (17)

David Rochela (22)

Nitipong Selanon (34)

Tana Chanabut (99)

 

ร่วมโหวตที่นี่

 

 

Voting closes at the end of the month, so get your vote in before then!

 

Hells Angels Take Port for a Ride: Bangkok Utd 6-2 Port FC

 

Port’s first away game of the season ended in a crushing 6-2 defeat at the hands of last year’s runners-up Bangkok United. Port never looked competitive, suffering from poor team selection and a slew of under-par performances. Whilst Port were not expected to get a result at Thammasat Stadium, the manner in which we lost was discouraging to say the least.

 

Team Selection

Firstly, team selection was once again baffling. In a bizarre and totally unexpected move, 34 year old Suchon (11) made a rare start at left back. Whilst left back had been a problem position all throughout pre-season, defensive-minded Panpanpong (19) had his best game in a Port shirt last week against Suphanburi and looked certain to retain his place against an attacking Bangkok Utd. Suchon, who to my memory has barely started a game since 2015, looked completely off the pace, and never got close to holding his own against a quick, fluid Bangkok Utd attack.

Nitipong (34) at right back was perhaps even worse. Normally a right-winger, Nitipong has been shoe-horned in to the side at right back, with Jadet apparently being a big fan of his marauding runs forward down the right flank. Did the thought never cross Jadet’s mind that – against the side who finished second last season – picking a defender in defence might be prudent?

In midfield, it was more of the same. Adisorn (13) was once again preferred to Tatchanon (39) and Wanchalerm (40), despite all the evidence seeming to suggest that either of the youngsters would do a far better job at shielding the defence. Adisorn played an energetic but largely ineffectual 35 minutes before being withdrawn to make way for an attacking change with the team already 3 goals down.

Up front, Tana (99) was preferred to Kaludjerovic (10) and Josimar (30). After an impressive cameo last week, scoring a stunning goal and looking dangerous, this was not a complete shock. Tana, as he so often does, found the back of the net, and provided a bit of spark going forward, although he had relatively few chances to shine with Port largely preoccupied in defence.

 

The Action

As soon as the match started, Bangkok Utd showed why they finished second last season, creating chance after chance and looking by far the better team. In the 13th minute, Suchon (11) misjudged a pass which looped right over his head, but Rattanai (17) did well to get out quickly and block Macena’s (10) finish. Just 2 minutes later, Bangkok exploited a gaping hole in the Port defence, playing a well-weighted through-ball between Rochela (22) and Suchon (11) to find Macena (10), who was once again denied by a fantastic reaction stop by Rattanai.

 

Photo by Patikamol Sukcharoen

 

In the 19th minute, Bangkok Utd finally made their dominance count. Nitipong (34) was at fault for Port, trying to play tiki taka football inside his own penalty area and giving the ball away. Rochela tried to intervene with a desperate sliding tackle, but he missed the ball and sent Macena flying, giving the referee the easiest penalty decision he will make all season. Former national team star Leesaw (14) sent Rattanai the wrong way to open his account for the season, and make it Bangkok Utd 1-0 Port.

5 minutes later, Port once again sought to make their opponents lives as easy as possible. Suchon (11) was late on Ekkachai (2) in a position where he didn’t even really need to make the tackle, and although it was slightly less clear that the first penalty, the referee rightly pointed to the spot for a second time. Leesaw again buried his penalty in the bottom left corner, and after 25 minutes it was Bangkok Utd 2-0 Port.

Just after the half hour mark, things went from bad to worse for Port. A mishit shot from Sanrawat (29) found Pokklaw (39) in acres of space inside the Port box, and the Thai national team midfielder had time to take a touch, set himself and pass the ball past a defenseless Rattanai. Bangkok Utd 3-0 Port.

Three goals down and looking dejected, Jadet changed things up, bringing on Kaludjerovic (10) for Adisorn (13) and switching to a 4-4-2. It paid immediate dividends, although the goal was an individual masterpiece rather than a result of the switch. Siwakorn (16) glided past a couple of defenders and curled a beautiful shot over the keeper in to the top right hand corner from the edge of the box. The man who has kick-started Port comebacks in the past had given us some hope, and Port finally started to pick up their game for the remainder of the half. Bangkok Utd 3-1 Port.

Port started the second half brightly, threatening to get right back in to the game in the 57th minute when Siwakorn combined well with Genki (18) on the edge of the area, but Tana (99) sliced the resulting shot wide and soon enough normal service was resumed. Just a minute later Bangkok Utd hit the post after a well-worked move, and just after the hour mark they made it four. Macena (10) juggled the ball past Rochela (22), who could only make a weak mistimed challenge which the Brazilian easily evaded, before pulling the ball back to Leesaw (14) who passed the ball in to the net from 8 yards out. Bangkok Utd 4-1 Port.  

With the game effectively killed off, Port scored a consolation goal through Tana (99). Pakorn (9) played a deep cross which deceived Warut (34) in the Bangkok utd goal, and with the ‘keeper flailing around in no-man’s land Tana slotted the ball in to an empty net to make it Bangkok Utd 4-2 Port.

With nothing else for it, Port brought on Ekkapoom (8) and Wuttichai (14) and bombed forward for the rest of the game in search of another goal. Inevitably, Bangkok Utd exploited the gaps left in the defence to add two more goals, both created by substitute Mario Gjurovski (20). Firstly he played an exquisite outside of the boot pass to give Leesaw (14) his fourth, then crossed from the left for Macena (10) to score the goal that his superb performance merited. Bangkok Utd 6-2 Port

Rattanai in the Port goal looked dejected. Rarely can you say that a ‘keeper who conceded 6 goals played well, but he could not have done better with any of the 6 goals, and he made some smart stops in the first half. The blame has to go to the coach – whose team selection once again raised eyebrows – and most of the players, who simply did not perform.

 

Port FC Man of the Match

Photo by Patikamol Sukcharoen

 

The award has to go to Siwakorn (16), who fought manfully and tried to give his team a chance with his combative play in midfield. The skinny wizard even capped his display off with a Goal of the Season contender, although his fine individual performance had no impact on the outcome of the match.

 

Final Thoughts

Port have a lot of work to do before their crucial home game against Navy on March 4th. Coach Jadet has to start bringing in the players who looked so promising in pre-season, and the team need to perform to their potential week in week out if they are to have a decent season in T1.

 

Bangkok Dangerous: Bangkok Utd vs. Port FC, 25 Feb 2017

 

Port travel to Bangkok Utd on Saturday for their first away trip of the T1 season. An unbeaten start for Port sees them sitting pretty in 5th place, while the ambitious Angels languish in 10th after a surprise loss to newly-promoted Thai Honda. Nevertheless, the 2016 TPL runners up go in to Saturday’s clash as heavy favourites to rediscover their form and take all three points at Thammasat Stadium.

As well as bringing you this preview, The Sandpit also caught up with Bangkok Utd coach Mano Polking, who was kind enough to share with us his thoughts about his team, and the upcoming clash with Port. You can see the full interview here.

 

Bangkok Utd

Players to Watch

 

Mario Gjurovski (20) has been consistently one of the best players in Thailand for about 5 years. The Macedonian attacking midfielder netted 59 goals in 121 games for Muangthong between 2012 and 2015, before he shocked everyone by choosing not to renew his contract and move across the city to Bangkok Utd. Mario scored 12 in 30 last season, and is showing no signs of slowing down. He also really knows how to celebrate a goal, as this classic shorts-on-the-head machine-gun maneuver demonstrates. He got a red card for his troubles, but in his defence, who among us wouldn’t take a sending off for a chance to strip down and mow down a few rows of ‘Yamaha Ultras?’

Dragan Boskovic (7) is Bangkok Utd’s other free-scoring attacking midfielder. The powerful Montenegrin has scored 33 in 61 since 2015, and his direct physical style on the left flank is sure to present a tough challenge for either Meechok (20) or Nitipong (34) at right back, neither of whom is particularly robust.

Jaycee John (22) is a quick striker with a frankly outrageous goal-scoring record at some of his former clubs, and 29 goals in 41 games for Bangkok Utd. Born in Nigeria, John moved to Bahrain aged 19 and has gone on to represent his adopted country 47 times, meaning he counts as Bangkok Utd’s AFC foreigner. Dolah (4) and Rochela (22) will have their hands full with John, who can both hold the ball up and play on the shoulder of defenders to great effect.

Sanrawat Dechmitr (29) is a skillful central midfielder who seems to play much better for his club than his country. When I’ve seen him play for Thailand he has been pretty poor, but coach Mano Polking seems to know how to get the best out of him when he plays for the Angels. Bangkok Utd’s captain will attempt to provide the all-foreign attacking foursome with the ammo they will need to rediscover their scoring form.

Gjurovski, Boskovic, John and Sanrawat

 

Mano’s Formerly Awesome Foursome

 

It will be interesting to see if Bangkok Utd manager Mano Polking continues to keep faith in Gjurovski, Boskovic, John and Brazilian forward Gilberto Macena as an attacking quartet.

The Angels must be the only team in T1 who don’t regularly opt to use one of their foreigners in either central defence or central midfield, and so far with only one goal in their first three competitive matches, the gamble is not paying off. Still, the team that finished second in 2016 must not be underestimated. They undoubtedly have the ability, and – as Mano ominously warned us – a point to prove.

Form

 

Bangkok Utd’s poor early season form has probably been the surprise of the season so far. They were stunned in their AFC Champions League Qualifier by unfancied Malaysian outfit Johor Darul Ta’zim, who held the Angels to a 1-1 draw and then triumphed on penalties. Then, on the first week of the season, they secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory against habitual strugglers Siam Navy. After 25 minutes, Jaycee John (22) used his power to shrug off a defender, then showed excellent composure to give his side the lead, and in the second half Bangkok Utd held on for the win, despite sustained pressure and a couple of near misses from Navy. Unconvincing. In week 2, a late goal by a typically well-organized Thai Honda ended Bangkok Utd’s unbeaten league record which – remarkably – had stretched all the way back to May 2016.

Having scored just 2 goals in 270 minutes of competitive football so far in 2017, Bangkok United’s greatest strength in their memorable 2016 campaign has so far been their greatest weakness. They just can’t find the back of the net with the regularity we are used to seeing. Port’s chances of getting a surprise result at Thammasat Stadium will likely rest on this trend continuing.

 

Port FC

The Starting XI – The Old Over The New

 

We have started to notice a trend in manager Jadet’s team selections this term. Experience is being preferred to youth.

Nitipong (34) has been preferred to Meechok (20) in both games so far, although there is still a possibility that Meechok isn’t fit enough to play the full 90 minutes after picking up a knock in pre-season. Could Nitipong now be picked over Meechok on merit after being awarded the official Man of the Match award in last week’s 3-2 victory over Suphanburi? We don’t think so. Nitipong has been excellent going forward in both of the first two games, but has never looked completely comfortable defending. With Dragan Boskovic (7) on the left wing for Bangkok Utd, we’re going to continue to stick to our guns and say that Meechok – if fit – has to be picked.

Rattanai (17) is the exception to the youth over experience trend. The young ‘keeper had a great game against Ratchaburi in week 1, but made his first mistake in a Port shirt to gift Suphanburi an open goal in week 2, failing to hold on to the ball after a collision with Rochela. Rattanai didn’t let the error effect the rest of his game though, making an excellent stop early in the second half and looking comfortable for the rest of the game.

Ahead of Rattanai, Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) are set to continue in the heart of defence, whilst Panpanpong (19) must now be considered first choice left back after a solid defensive display and an assist for the opening goal, whereas Piyachart’s (23) only contribution after being brought off the bench was to almost gift Suphanburi a late penalty. We expect Piyachart to be warming the bench for the full 90 this Saturday.

Midfield is once again the big question mark. 30 year old Adisorn (13) was picked over a host of new younger signings who most observers think outperformed him in pre-season. 20 year old Tatchanon (39) has been particularly impressive since his move from Army, but he didn’t make the squad in week 1 and was an unused substitute in week 2. 23 year old Wanchalerm (40) also looked good, but veteran Ittipol (7) has so far kept him out of the match-day squad.

Adisorn certainly didn’t disappoint with his work-rate against Suphanburi, even making T1 team-of-the-week on one website, but surely a stronger, more technical Tatchanon is the right option in the long run? We will have to wait and see, but it seems likely that Jadet will keep faith in Adisorn to partner Siwakorn (16) in midfield, with The Sandpit’s Man of the Match against Suphanburi Suarez (5) in the attacking midfield role.

On the wings, Pakorn (9) and Genki (18) will surely continue in the side. The skillful Pakorn and the hard-working Genki perform very different roles for the team, but both made hugely important contributions in Sunday’s win.

Up front, Kaludjerovic (10) did what he does best, pouncing on a goalkeeping error to score his first league goal for Port. His goal-poaching is undoubtedly an asset to the side, but Tana (99) looked impressive coming off the bench, scoring a swashbuckling equalizer and giving Jadet a tricky decision to make. Perhaps the biggest threat to Kalu’s starting place, though, is new signing Josimar (30). With the transfer window now closed and Josimar confirmed as Port’s fifth foreign player, Josimar is available for selection, and will surely be in the match-day squad, if not the starting XI. It seems most likely, however, that Kaludjerovic will be preferred against Bangkok Utd, with Tana and Josimar set to come off the bench if Port need a goal. To most Port fans’ and referees’ relief, Josimar’s inclusion should also mean that Wuttichai ‘The Card’ Tathong (14) does not make the subs bench for a while. Phew!

Predicted Starting XI

 

 

The Key Battle

Dolah vs. John

 

 

Elias Dolah, who is only playing his first season in a strong T1, is going to have to be at his best to keep Bangkok Utd’s Jaycee John quiet. Whilst Dolah will be expected to dominate John in the air, Bangkok Utd like to play the ball on the floor, and John’s dribbling as well as his runs in behind the defence will make for a testing day for the Thai-Swede. If he and the rest of the Port defence are up to the challenge, Port have every chance of coming away from Thammasat Stadium with a result, but if John is at his unplayable best, Port may find themselves just trying to keep the score respectable.

 

The match will be shown live on True Sports 2 and True Sports 2 HD at 20:00 on Saturday 25 February, 2017.

 

MaranhaOUT – Transfer Window Closes; Squad List Announced

 

Official squad lists have appeared on the official Thai League website, and the transfer window will tonight be slammed shut, meaning that months of speculation and rumours can finally be put to bed.

Port’s top scorer in 2016 – Rodrigo Maranhao – has not made the cut, but will be staying with Port in 2017 after a deadline day move to Navy fell through. We can also now say with certainty that a couple of rumoured moves have not panned out. Armenian forward Edgar Manucharyan has not joined Port, despite reports in the Armenian media claiming that he had, and former Ratchaburi star Heberty Fernandes has also failed to agree terms. His reported wage demand of $800,000 per year was never likely to be met by Port, and it is now definite that Port have missed out on one of the top players in the TPL in 2016.

The man Port have chosen to fill the fifth foreign player spot is Brazilian forward Josimar Rodrigues, who signed last month having banged in 16 goals in 30 games for Army last year. It is thought that Josimar was not included in Port’s first two match-day squads because the club was still holding out hope of making a late deal with Heberty, but now that the deal is dead, Josimar should at least be on the bench for the trip to Bangkok Utd.

In other late transfer news, Port’s loan move for Chainat player Surachet Ngamtip has fallen through, reportedly because of injury concerns, and Surachet has instead joined T1 rivals Pattaya Utd. Other players to have missed out on a place in the squad are youngsters Patrick Bentley, Techin Muktarakosa and Danudech Trimongkolchok. The trio were in and around the squad in pre-season, but featured either very little or not at all, making it pretty unsurprising that they have not been included. They may continue training with the first team squad, or perhaps be loaned out to gain experience in a lower division.

Port’s complete 2017 Squad can be viewed here. We have included players who have not made the T1 squad but are still at the club, and marked them with an asterisk*.

 

This Charming Mano: The Sandpit Talks to Mano Polking

 

On Saturday 25 February, Port face their toughest test of the new season so far when they travel to Thammasat Stadium to face 2016 runners-up Bangkok Utd. BUFC are one of those rare Thai football clubs who value stability and steady development, and their progress over the last 3 years, from mid-table to top 3, has been most impressive – due in no small part to their affable and passionate coach, Mano Polking.

To set the scene for Saturday’s clash, we chatted to Mano about life as a coach at one of Thailand’s top clubs…

 


Begin by telling us how you came to work in Thailand…
I came to Thailand almost 5 years ago as the assistant coach of Winnie Schaefer with the Thailand national team. I was his assistant already before in UAE and Azerbaijan. He also supported me to be the head coach of Thai under 21s. It was then my first experience as a head coach.

What were your first impressions of Thai football? What are the biggest differences between Thai football and football in Germany, and what were the biggest culture shocks you encountered?
The first impression was positive because Thailand is a nice place to live and you can feel this also in the football pitch. People generally are easy going and that makes you have a good first impression. But at the same time of course it’s where the small problems starts, cause being so relax and playing competitive football are two completely different things. It’s definitely a culture issue. Players don’t like conflicts, don’t like to be exposed and still have a too relax attitude for this job. I must say that I’m trying hard to change this with my teams now. At least to make it clear that in this business the gap betweeen losing and winning must be huge and that we cannot take it too easy when we lose. We need a winning mentality at least for this 90 minutes, after I will be with them again and we can be sabai sabai! I could never be the same coach I am here in Germany. Impossible. Here we have to adapt, accept some different things, close our eyes and step by step move forward.

 
 


 
 
You’re in a fairly unique position for a Thai league coach, in that you have been working at a stable club for almost 3 years and appear to have a considerable amount of autonomy. How would you describe the Bangkok Utd approach to running a football club?
Bangkok United is the best club in this country because they realize that the football business must be different than the “normal” business or the political business. I found with Khun Kachorn a president that is a huge business man but a very straight and honest person. We take all the decisions together and we have a lot of respect for each other. I know that as a coach I always need results and in this almost three years we are having the results, what obviously makes the work together much easier. I think that the way the president is running the club is the key for this success cause he let me chose the players that I think will fit in the way I play, actually very simple. And he never interferes in my daily work or game decisions. When we want to buy a player I always give him 6, 7 options each position and we decide together. We still have a long way to go and a lot of things to improve as a club but we are definitely in the right way.
 
Do you think some Thai club owners (naming no names, *cough*) try to exert too much influence on footballing matters?
I don’t think, we all know that! But again, I respect all of them, the are the owners, they are paying the money, so as a coach it’s your choice to do or not to do! I just believe that the way we are doing it’s easier to get the results. At the same time we also know for example how Newin is running Buriram and he just won everything in this country! So, there are many ways to achieve success. I just can tell you that this would never happen in Europe! But we are here because we like to be here, so adapt yourself and try to do your best!
 
BUFC have made impressive progress since you took over, culminating in second place last season. Do you think you can win the title in 2017? Who will be your main rivals?
We had a fantastic season 2016 and it’s almost impossible to repeat an year losing just two games again. But what I can only hope is that this season no team will be so strong like Muangthong was last year and then we have a chance. I could almost bet with you that if after 31 games we would have again 75 points like last season we probably will be champion. The main rivals are almost the same ones. MTU with 80% of the national team is favourite number one but then I expect a much stronger Buriram this season. Those two clubs will always be strong, since the Thai league is a professional league are the only two champions here! Then we have in my opinion 6 teams that can be able to surprise them. We, the new rich Chiangrai, Bangkok Glass, Chonburi, Ratchaburi and Suphanburi.

 
 


 
 
What about your personal ambitions – if/when your time at BUFC comes to an end, where do you see yourself? Staying in Thailand or coaching elsewhere?
I like Thailand. For a young coach is actually a very good place to be now. I’m still learning a lot every year, adding a lot of experience. First I hope to stay till the end of my contract with BU, which finish December 2018. It’s difficult for a coach to make so much plans cause we have normally a short “life” at the clubs but I have a lot of ambitions and really love my job and the challenges of this job. The football here is growing very fast and I would love to win a title with BU. After that maybe a new challenge should be the right step.

 

Who is the best player you’ve managed during your time in Thailand? Who do you think are the best players in T1 right now?
With the U21s I coached all this new wonderful generation of Thailand with Messi Jay, Sarach, Pokkao, Adisak and its very difficult to say who is the best one. Also I had many foreigner players with great quality, difficult to chose one. But at the moment for me the best Thai players are Kawin, Teerasil and Theraton and I’m sure soon we will have some BU players in this list!
 
As a foreign coach, do you think Thailand’s strict 5 foreign player quota is an advantage or a disadvantage? Would you like to be able to sign more foreign players, and do you think they help Thai players improve or restrict their opportunities? What can Thai players learn from foreigners and what can foreigners learn from playing in Thailand?
I think it’s good how it is now. Thai players can learn how to be more professional and how to improve the winning mentality and foreigners players can learn that life should not be always stressful and we should not always put ourselves under pressure. Being a little bit more relaxed can help you sometimes to be a better player.
 
What’s the difference in managing Thai and foreign players?
Huge difference. Thais don’t like conflicts so you have to find another way to make them better. In Thailand you always have max 5 foreigner players and they normally can handle the pressure because they are earning more money than the others so you can be harder on them. And it always depends which nationality. South Americans are also different from Africans and Europeans for example.

 


 
 
You’re Brazilian-German. Which footballing philosophy do you most identify with – Brazilian flair or German efficiency and organisation? And how did you feel when Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in WC2014? 
I really like to mix both. It’s actually a perfect combination. German discipline and work attitude with Brazilian creativity. The 7-1 is still painful!
 
Bangkok Utd are a big club with very small crowds. Does this frustrate you? What can the club do to attract more fans?
I’m proud of the small crowd that we have but every coach or player wishes to see the stadium full. It’s a difficult theme to talk about as it involves a lot of things to improve this department and it needs time. But we are much more than three years ago and I hope we will continue to increase the number of the fans. We have clear plan to build a new stadium and training ground and that should be the next step.
 
Port visit BUFC on 25 February. How do you rate the current Port side and how do you think they will perform this season?
Port is always a dangerous and strong team especially at home, alone because of the fantastic atmosphere and fantastic fans. The president is also investing a lot of money and my friend Jadet is an experienced coach. The new foreigner players must first prove how good they are, they all have good CVs and that will be important to see how strong Port can be. The squad is good and played some very good games last season. I think they will play a very good role this year.

 


 

Big, big thanks to Mano for taking the time to answer our questions (and for allowing me to nick images off his Facebook page!), during what must’ve been a very busy first week of the 2017 season. The Sandpit would like to wish you and Bangkok Utd good luck for the season – apart from on Saturday 25 February of course!

 

Suphan-Buried! Port FC 3-2 Suphanburi FC

 

After last week’s less than stellar performance against Ratchaburi, where Port were fortunate to salvage a point, expectations going into a match against a strong Suphanburi side were tempered to say the least.

Trepidation crept in when the starting XI headed out onto the field for the warm-up.  Certainly Meechok (20) with his strong defending would be at right back and Tatchanon (39) or Wanchalerm (40) would be given the holding midfielder role against a big, physical Suphan squad, right? But no, Nitipong (34) was given the start at right back and Adisorn (13) in center midfield.

From the opening whistle it was apparent that the match would be much more lively than last weeks rather boring affair. Port were the better side for much of the first half and moved the ball through the midfield with relative ease for the first 25 minutes. Kaludjerovic (10) opened his Port account with an empty netter after receiving a gift in the form of keeper Sinthaweechai’s (18) deflection while he was attempting to stop Panpanpong’s (19) cross. Port 1-0 Suphan

Not to be outdone, in the 27th minute Rattanai (17) failed to hold onto the ball after a collision with Rochela (22) and the ball dropped right into the path of Dellatorre (9) who popped it into an empty net.  Port 1-1 Suphan

After the goal Suphan were the superior team for the rest of the first half, constantly pressing the attack, while Port played the defensive game. The aggression paid off in minute 36 when Dellatore (9) headed home a well-struck corner. Soon after, Port should have had a penalty for hand ball, but it was ignored by the official. The first half ended Port 1-2 Suphan

No changes were made by either side at half time. Play was again lively with both teams pressing the attack. Jadet replaced Kaludjerovic (10) with Tana (99) and moments later at the 56th minute Adul Lahsoh (19) saw red for his dangerous challenge on Adisorn (13). Up a man Port dominated possession, play, and chances. 5 minutes later Tana (99) rifled one home after receiving a nice soft-footed Ozil style pass from Genki (18). Port 2-2 Suphan

8 minutes later it was Sergio Suarez’s (5) turn when he slotted home a cross from Nitipong (34). Port 3-2 Suphan

The last 20 + 5 saw Port dominating for all but a few minutes. During stoppage time there was an anxious moment when it appeared that a Suphan attacker was taken down in the box, but fortunately the ref did not see it or did not consider it a penalty. You could feel the crowd’s relief when the final whistle blew giving Port their first victory of the season.

Observations

Although a much better effort than last week’s the team still has work to do. Overall play and flow is headed in the right direction but the team really has yet to gel and there still seems to be lack of focus and not much of a game plan.

Defensively, especially on set plays, the marking is not great. Dellatorre’s (9) goal was a perfect example. Dolah (4) should be matched up against the opposing team’s big man every time and he needs to stay with his cover.

Midfield play is a bit sloppy and the team still does not have a steady holding mid-fielder to direct and control the play. Although Adisorn (13) had a good match, it is far from given that he is the man for that spot. Jadet should give serious consideration to Tatchanon (39) and Wanchalerm (40) who both did well in pre-season.

Nitipong (34) had a very good game and was awarded man of the match by the press. However, Meechok (20) is superior defensively and against the league’s best wingers might present a better starting option. Nitipong (34) has also been fantastic off the bench and his speed can be deadly late in games if he is fresh. Definitely a change I would consider.

Hopefully Rattanai’s (17) failure to hold onto the ball is a one off mistake. He has been quite reliable during his tenure with Port. That being said, I think there still have to be some concerns about his size, stature, and strength. It will take a few more mistake free matches for me to be convinced.

Panpanpong (19) was quite good against Suphan, both defending and pressing forward. Improvement over last week was quite substantial. At this rate he might earn that left-back position.

Kaludjerovic (10) is a target man. Get him the ball in the box and he will put it on net. In order for the team to get the most out of him, they are going to have to provide him with a bit more service. This also underscores the need for Port to add another striker/scoring winger to the squad. We are still waiting to see if it will be Josimar (30) or Heberty.

Pakorn (9) had a great match. With a bit more experience at this level and some good coaching, he should be one of the better Thai wingers in the league.

Port FC Man of the Match

Sergio Suarez. Creative, fast, all over the pitch, and netted the winner.

Final Thoughts

We were better tonight. Progress was made over the last week. Hopefully it will continue, but it’s not going to be easy. A mid-table finish will require some doing.

I for one am glad we are playing many of the better teams at the beginning of the leg when they are not quite at top form. Makes it far more likely for us to grab a point or three. Bangkok Utd have not been ripping it up in their first two matches, we just might steal one from them as well.

See you guys in Pathum Thani!

 

Dom’s Thai Port Thai: Lesson 3 – Players, Coaches & Refs

 

Who’s who ? It’s often difficult to remember a player’s name. If you can talk about where they are on the pitch, that always helps. In lesson 3 there’s a list of the players’ positions, as well as Thai words for managers/coaches and referees/linos.

In general,

นักฟุตบอล ,  nák fóotbawn  =  a footballer

ผมอยากจะเป็นนักฟุตบอล แต่ไม่มีทาง

pŏm yàak jà ben nák fóotbawn dtàe mâi mee tang = “I want to be a footballer, but I’ve got no chance.”

Players’ Positions

ผู้รักษาประตู   ,  pûu ráksăa pratuu = a goalkeeper

For goalkeeper puu raksa pratuu is often just shortened to pratuu, like saying goalie.

กองหลัง ,  gawng lăng = a defender
กองกลาง  ,  gawng glaang  =  a midfielder

 ปีกซ้าย , bpeek saai = left winger

 ปีกขวา = bpeek gwaa = right winger

กองหน้า  ,  gawng nâa = a forward / striker

ด้านขวา , dâan gwaa =  right side

ด้านซ้าย , dâan saai  =  left side

Meechok gawng lăng dâan gwaa =  Mechok plays right back

For right back and left back, I have also heard just the English word back/baek used.

แบกขวา , bàek gwaa =  right back

แบกซ้าย , bàek saai  =  left back

Meechok bàek gwaa  =  Mechok plays right back

Genki lên gawng glaang dâan gwaa  =  Genki plays on the right side of midfield

 

Manager & Coach

Manager and Coach are used interchangeably for the person in charge of the team, Jadet Meelarp. We do have a separate team manager Ong-Arj Korsinkar, but pûu jàtgaan is normally used for the person in charge of the team on a day to day basis.

ผู้จัดการทีม  ,  pûu jàtgaan teem  =  a team manager
โค้ช  , cóte  =  a coach

Ref and Lino

ผู้ตัดสิน ,  pûu dtàtsĭn = a referee

ผู้ช่วยผู้ตัดสิน ,  pûu chûai pûu dtàtsĭn = an assistant referee

กรรมการ  ,   gamagaan  = ref or lino   (or committee or etc……)

 

“pûu dtàtsĭn” this is the correct translation for referee, but it’s not normally used. If you’re talking about the referee you normally use gamagaan. This word can mean a person or a committee making a decision. It’s a general word, so can be used for referee or assistant referee.

For Example

กรรมการ ตาบอด  ,  gamagaan dtaa bàwt  =  the ref or lino is blind

 

That’s all the people right here, right now. You know what I mean?

 

The football vocabulary is largely from pickup-thai.com , not Thai for picking up, a good website for learning Thai. This page has the essential vocabulary and all important sound files for the football words and phrases  http://pickup-thai.com/a-glossary-of-football-terms/  We can write out vocab in English, but to really get the sounds  right it’s good to listen to the sound files.

 

Suphan Main Course: Port FC vs. Suphanburi FC, 19th Feb 2017

 

Port FC face Suphanburi FC at 19:00 on Sunday. Suphanburi finished in a disappointing 10th place in the TPL last year, making them just the kind of team that Port should be looking to take all 3 points from at PAT Stadium if they are going to achieve their goal of a top half finish this season. Here we will take an in-depth look at Port’s opponents before turning our attention to Jadet’s team selection.

Suphanburi FC

Players to Watch

 

Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool (18) is Thailand’s second choice ‘keeper at international level and, even at 34, is still one of the best in the business. He is an excellent shot-stopper, but is better known for charging off his line and is a classic example of a ‘sweeper-keeper’.

Adul Lahso (19) is a disciplined, no-nonsense defensive midfielder who protects Suphanburi’s back four and very rarely loses possession. He played one season in Japan, and has made 34 appearances for the Thai National Team. Adul will likely be tasked with keeping tabs on Sergio Suarez (5), who will be trying to operate between Suphanburi’s midfield and defence.

Charyl Chappuis (7) is a Thai-Swiss central midfielder with possibly the best range of passing in T1. His ability to pick out a 40 yard pass and land it on a 1 baht coin is reminiscent of Scholes in his prime, although Chappuis’ legion of female fans would probably not be too happy with the comparison. Chappuis’ career has been blighted by injury, but after missing the majority of the last 2 seasons, he is now back to full fitness and eager to impress. Chappuis is not one to be intimidated by the famously hostile atmosphere at PAT Stadium, leaving this cheeky comment on Instagram after we warned him what to expect.

Dellatorre (9) was Suphanburi’s top scorer in 2016, netting a useful but not particularly scary 10 goals in 26 games for The War Elephants. The 1.86m striker looks like a bit of a handful, although the way Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) handled the physical side of Ratchaburi striker Marcel Essombe’s game last week, his size shouldn’t prove too much of a problem.

Thanasith Siriphala (11) is a quick, tricky left-winger who didn’t start Suphanburi’s first game of the season, but looked electric when he came off the bench. Known as Taodinho, (his nickname is Tao, and the dinho comes from his rather more famous buck-toothed doppelganger) he absolutely terrorized Port last time he came to PAT Stadium, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win for Bangkok Glass. Let’s hope Meechok (20) is fit enough to play 90 minutes at right-back this week, as the prospect of Taodinho running at Nitipong (34) is not one that Port fans will relish.

 

Sinthaweechai, Adul, Chappuis, Dellatorre and Tanasith

 

Form

 

It’s hard to judge form so early in the season, so we will give you a brief account of Suphanburi’s first game of the season. The War Elephants earned a hard-fought 2-1 win against newly-promoted Thai Honda, but looked far from comfortable against a team that is expected to be in the lower reaches of the T1 table. Suphanburi looked good in central midfield with Adul (19) and Chappuis (7) combining well, and dangerous going forward, with Chananan (10), Dellatorre (9) and Madrigal (8) looking sharp. Defensively, however, there was a lot to be desired from The War Elephants, and it was indecision from two defenders that led to Thai Honda taking the lead. They both stood and waited for the other to take control of an innocuous ball across the 6 yard box, and Honda midfielder Peemvit (11) snuck between them to head the ball past Sinthaweechai (18).

Suphanburi always looked likely to equalize though, and it was a peach of a pass that led to the goal. Chappuis (7) showed excellent vision and technique to play a pinpoint ball over the top, and former Thai under 23 striker Chananan (10) did well to beat the keeper with a first time shot from a tight angle.

Suphanburi’s winner came just before half time, as an unmarked Dellatorre (9) did well to connect with a deep corner, sticking a leg out and sending an unconventional finish past Buncha (24) in the Honda goal. Honda will have been disappointed with their defending though, as Dellatorre should never have lost his marker with such ease.

Honda pushed on in search of an equalizer in the second half and the game really opened up, leading to several chances for both sides. Sinthaweechai (18) made a quality save late on to ensure that Suphanburi held on for the win, and they will head to PAT Stadium with 3 points under their belt despite a patchy performance.

 

The Suphanburi Perspective

 

We caught up with Matt who runs the @fcsuphanburi Twitter account to get a feel for how the away side are expecting to do this season.

“This season, for Suphanburi after their poor end to the truncated season last year, a fit again Charyl Chappuis, three Brazilian and one Argentine new imports, there needs to be a lot of samba flair. I am a big fan of second time round coach Sergio Farias. He is a calm and clear tactician who now has at least four members of the squad that he can communicate directly with (his English is very basic). There seems a good mixture of experience (not sure where the 38 year old Rangsan fits in) with thirty year old Adul a stabilising force for the team and keeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool a consummate professional to influence the younger players. The preseason has not been great, but a come from behind win against Thai Honda with Dellatore bagging the winner showed some promise. It is time for him and Chananan to show what they are capable of. Both flattered to achieve last season. Fourth is the new first, so I expect the best case scenario to be that. Title winners are Muang Thong, dark horses are Scott Cooper’s Ubon and a good cup run and fighting for an AFC place would be a good step forward for Suphanburi after the frustrations of last season.”

We also asked Matt to pick out one key player to watch from both sides. From Suphanburi he chose Brazilian striker Dellatorre.

“For Suphanburi, a slimmer Dellatorre has plenty of skill and, if he can improve his work rate and consistency, he will always prove a threat. His ability has never been in doubt, but his fitness and application have let him down in the past. Fitter and thinner, a good run in the team supported by the “Syrian” duo  [Ed – Brazilian duo Marcelo and Gilson have both recently acquired Syrian passports] might, finally, bring out the best in a player of undoubted ability.”

Unsurprisingly, his player to watch from Port was captain and last week’s Port FC Man of the Match David Rochela.

“For Port, I have always felt David Rochela is a touch of class. He has the football intelligence to keep the younger players in a more disciplined frame of mind and the temperament to cope with the febrile atmosphere at the PAT. He should score more goals in a season from set pieces, but he is a real defender’s defender.”

 

Port FC

The Starting XI – Selection Headaches

 

Jadet has some key decisions to make after Genki rescued a point for Port last week against Ratchaburi.

Rattanai (17) should retain his place in goal after an excellent performance on Saturday, while Rochela (22) and Dolah (4) will continue in central defence.

If Meechok (20) has fully recovered from the knock he picked up in pre-season, it’s a no-brainer to bring the youngster in for Nitipong (34) at right back. Whilst Nitipong got forward well against Ratchaburi, his defensive struggles mean he is very likely to be back on the bench.

There is another slightly trickier decision to be made at left back. Piyachart (23) played OK against Ratchaburi, but also seemed to prioritise attack over defence. Panpanpong (19) replaced him in the second half and played with more discipline, but looked poor going forward. With the less-than-inspiring options Jadet has available to him, it is perhaps unsurprising that the club have chosen to dip in to the loan market to snap up Surachet from Chainat on a 1 year deal. We’re unsure whether Surachet will be considered for selection this week, and we are also not certain if Jadet intends to play him in defence or midfield. With Surachet having been at the club less than a week – and attack-minded Suphanburi the opponents – it seems likely that the more defensive Panpanpong will make his first competitive start for Port.

The biggest head-scratcher from the Ratchaburi game was Jadet’s central midfield selection. Siwakorn (16) and Suarez (5) were of course expected to be starting, and it wasn’t a complete surprise to see Piyachat (88) get the nod, but I doubt that a single person in PAT Stadium expected to see Adisorn (13) come off the bench. Is there a reason that Tatchanon (39) or Wanchalerm (40) were not even in the squad? Both impressed far more than Adisorn in pre-season, with Tatchanon in particular looking like a class act in the holding midfield role. With Piyachat injured until the end of the month, we will be very interested to see who Jadet picks. If you’re reading, Jadet, anyone but Adisorn, please!

Pakorn (9) and Genki (18) combined to rescue a point for Port last week, and will surely continue on the wings, but Jadet could ring the changes up front. Kaludjerovic (10) looked a little off the pace against Ratchaburi, despite finding the net several times in pre-season. With new signing Josimar (30) likely to be in contention for a place in the side, Jadet could consider making a change, although we think he’s much more likely to stick with the Serb for now.

 

Predicted Starting XI

 

 

The Key Battle

Suarez vs. Adul

 

 

Suarez will likely be in the same advanced midfield role he played against Ratchaburi, while Adul will be sitting in front of his back four trying to track the Spaniard’s forward runs. If Suarez can find space and time on the ball, and make Adul’s life difficult when Suphanburi have possession, then it could well give Port the upper hand. Alternatively, if Adul can nullify the Suarez threat and dictate the pace of play, then Suphanburi will likely control the game.

 

 

Thanks to Matt from @fcsuphanburi for contributing. 

 

Pods & Sods: Sandpit News Roundup 15 Feb

 

A quick roundup of stories you may have missed, none of which are worthy of their own post but are equally too significant to be overlooked…


Thai League Football Podcast

Earlier this week I took part in the Thai League Football podcast, talking about Port’s opening day draw with Ratchaburi and discussing the club’s chances for the new T1 season. You can listen to edited highlights below, and in the unlikely event of that brief listen to my dulcet tones making you want to hear more, you can follow this link to download the whole thing.

 


Port Sign Surachet

The club have moved quickly to address last Saturday’s deficiencies at left-back, bringing in former Thai national team player Surachet Ngamtip on a season-long loan at Chainat, where he’s been playing since 2011. Some of you reading this may even have thrown stuff at him after the infamous 2014 season home game. You can see his player bio here.

 

Surachet Ngamtip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Khlongthoey Fire Update

Following further donations our fire fund went up to 18500BHT this week so I went down there on Monday morning to deliver the cash, and was delighted to see that house rebuilding has already commenced. Excellent news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Getting Shirty

Yesterday, being the romantic devil that I am, I went down to the club shop to buy a 2017 shirt as a Valentine’s Day present for my wife. God I spoil that woman. I arrived, in the company of fellow ‘Pitter Tom Earls, to find the shop completely empty apart from a few scarves, keyrings and some dusty old 2015 umbrellas.

It was subsequently revealed that shirts will now only be sold on matchdays, for some unfathomable reason, so if you’re planning to go down there to buy a shirt in order to avoid the crowds at Sunday’s game, don’t bother!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Zone B: Beers, Bobble Hat and Buddies

 

It’s that Christmas morning feeling, when, in the early hours, you sneak a peak over the covers, as your Dad carefully places the bulging pillow-case at the foot of your bed;

It’s your first day at Primary School; brim-full with tears of fear and excitement, you reluctantly loose your grasp of mum’s comforting hand and launch yourself into the mayhem of the playground;

It’s your first big date with the school beauty (or bike), clutching a sagging bunch of daisies you’ve picked on the way to the Saturday morning matinee;

It’s your first day at work, scrubbed-up and ready to enter the adult world, your tie slightly askew and a sticky plaster covering that nervous shaving nick you managed to inflict on yourself;

It’s the first day of the new Thai Football League 1 Season and your beloved Thai Port are at home.

You have planned to have a lay-in to limit the number of conscious hours you have before kick-off, but, at 7.30 a.m. you get a cryptic text from Keith: ‘Match Day’. Just two words, but, fully understanding the depth of the emotion behind them, it could just as well be the Gettysburg Address.

You have organized a busy pre-match day to suck up the hours: a long lunch with a friend, a bit of shopping and a visit to a photography exhibition (yes, some culture), a phone call home to your sister, and the ritual of selecting a match day shirt, which will take longer than any of the former.

You open the shirt draw, revealing an orange and blue history of the last seven years (with a dash of black, blue and green). Which will it be? Will it be last year’s Sivakorn number 16, now that he has been officially endorsed by captain David Rochela as a VIP (Very Important Player); or the 2014 promotion, Ali Diarra number 7, with the great man’s autograph on the back? In the end, you plump for your favourite, broad stripe, Adidas FB Battery shirt from, I think, 2011, humming ‘Our batteries, are better than yours, our batteries are better than yours’, as you pull it on.

You walk to the local motor-si boys outside your apartment, who greet you with a rousing cheer of ‘Ta Rua’ and, in less than 5 minutes, you are outside the club shop. There is a large queue snaking around the pavement. You have no idea what it is for, but you are English, and instinctively join it, before you are informed it is a queue for the new shirt. The new shirt? In time for the new season? In your excited incredulity, you almost forget that your greatest need at this time, 90 minutes before kick-off, is for a beer.  You can get a shirt later, and do.

However, you know that today, beers should not be sold for religious reasons. However, you reason that Thai Port FC is your religion and, for religious reasons, you need one! You are 99.9% certain that beers will somehow be sold on this day but, as this is Thai Port, and there is no certainty, you have brought your own.

You walk into the food and beer area. The place is heaving already, a riot of orange and blue. You are greeted by old friends of Port, both Thai and Farang, garnered over the years. Tutu, almost your first Thai contact, gives you a bear hug, shouting, ‘Teacher, jet pee lao!’ You gather on the Sandpit to catch up and speculate on the season ahead, planning possible away trips, now that the first half of the fixtures have been announced. Chiang Rai and Sisaket sound tempting.

There is still 20 minutes to go but you cannot delay the moment any longer – Zone B awaits. You put on your lucky hat and walk to your favoured spot: about 15 steps back behind the left hand goalpost and there is a flashback of all the goals you have seen crashing into that net; all, oddly enough, for Port.  You have printed out the squad from Wikipedia and highlight the team selection as it comes over the Tannoy. The players emerge, the King’s anthem is played, the referee blows his whistle – another Port journey has begun. As always,  it is sure to have unexpected twists and turns.

For now though, you are back on the terraces with your mates, a world in which you feel safe, comfortable and, somehow, confirmed. You exhibit a warm glow, like one of those candles in a jar. You know, also, there will ex Zone B-ites all over the world hanging on this result, wishing they were here with you. To your right, there is a chant of, ‘Think I’m gonna call me Nan’ – you smile knowingly at those who were at Nakhon Phathom last year. They smile, knowingly, back. You shout, you sing, you hoist your scarf. The game ebbs and flows. You savour every kick, even those by Ratchaburi, who you sportingly recognize as decent.  The chats over the half-term beers support your view but you remain optimistic.

Ratchaburi score. You are sad but not devastated. Nothing is going to spoil this occasion and there will be many teams worse than them. But, the last ten minutes hold out hope. There is a disputed free-kick and a narrow miss. We are getting closer. Then comes the moment. Genki glances home and the roar that has been bubbling under for 5 months erupts, sustained for what seems like another 5 months. In the midst of your own full-throated celebrations, you turn and look at your fellow fans, in their moment of frenzy, all, reflected images of the bloke on the bridge in that painting by Munch. You feel another warm glow.

Football is back.