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The Sandpit 2021/22 Big Guess Up- Samut Prakan Dons

Pattaya United  Samut Prakan City Dons (none of that City nonsense on this site-Ed) have had a somewhat tumultuous off-season, with them seemingly gutted by other Thai League 1 clubs for their better players. It appears that the purse-strings have been sealed shut, and possibly even superglued to boot, with them not being able to bring in like for like replacements. Considering that the owners had a few illusions of grandeur when they stole relocated the team to Samut Prakan, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth for the fans that had bought into their ideas. If it means that we never see the ridiculous 30,000 capacity stadium that they said they wanted to build: I’m all for it.

There’s been quite a lot of departures this off-season, and although I see a lot of sadness from the fans about the loss of Peeradon, for me: Teeraphol is the bigger loss. Peeradon is a pretender, a passion merchant, and someone that you can’t rely on when the going gets tough. Teeraphol, on the other hand, is always up for a battle, and can drag you out of a messy situation with a goal or two. I know which player I’d have preferred Port to sign, and it certainly wasn’t the former captain…

Add in the losses of Ernesto, Barros Tardelli, and Jakkapan: this team is barely recognizable! I’m quite intrigued by the arrival of Daisuke Sakai, whilst ChaiyaTwat is usually good for a few goals over the course of the season too.


Samut Prakan Dons close season transfer policy


Head Coach – Masatada Ishii

Samut Prakan have managed to hold onto their Japanese tactician, who I feel is probably in the top-3 for head coaches across the entire league. For me, that top-3 is: [begrudgingly] Gama, Dusit, and Ishii. Make of that what you will. I think a lot of clubs forget how important it is to have a quality head coach, with most owners preferring a puppet that they can overrule. It’s a serious issue that we’ve had at Port for far too long, but it appears that the Samut Prakan ownership have at least allowed Ishii to steer the club in the direction that he believes it needs to go. Unfortunately for him: they’ve given him a significantly worse squad this season.

Wiki currently has Ishii’s stats for Samut Prakan City at:



They’re some solid stats, and truthfully: the club’s in safe hands. If they can tighten up their defence this season, their lack of goalscoring prowess will be less of a problem, as I feel they’ll be involved in a lot of 1-nil games this season. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out, and the fans must be praying that ownership can do enough to convince Ishii to extend his stay even further.


Coach Ishii, standard polo shirt and point shot but this guy is a cut above most

Key Player – Jaroensak Wonggorn, and then Aris Zarifović

I’ve opted for the safe option of Jaroensak as my key player, although that’ll change when the owners [undoubtedly] sell him at the first opportunity they get. Jaroensak has tremendous potential, and although his end product can be a bit lacking at times: he’s a player that I have a lot of time for. I also like the fact that you barely see him posting on social media [TAKE NOTE ALL T1 PLAYERS!], which shows [to me] that he’s switched on, and committed to becoming a better player. Good on him, and I wish there was more like him.

Once Jaroensak departs, the mantle of ‘key player’ will be taken by Aris Zarifović, with the Slovenian central-defender one of the more underrated foreign players in the league. If I’m honest, I think he’s one of the better foreign central-defenders to have played in Thailand in the last 5-years, and if clubs focused on signing foreign defenders who can actually defend: there’d be less turnover of players too! If I had the opportunity to swap Rochela for Zarifović: I’d snap your hand off. That’s how highly I think of him, but [unfortunately] he’s not pretty enough to be on a billboard, so it’s highly unlikely that Pang would ever sign someone like him.

Jaroensak Wonggorn “where have all mer mates gone?”


My Prediction – Mid-table

This team is nothing like the team that was so impressive last season, and I feel like Masatada Ishii has been let down by ownership with the transfer manoeuvres that he’s been allowed to make. To replace Barros Tardelli with Eliandro is such a major downgrade, whilst Phoutthasay Khochalern is nowhere near as good as Zulfahmi Arifin, who they didn’t retain, and has since signed for Sukhothai. I imagine that Khochalern is a much more ‘budget friendly’ option to have, and if there’s anything that this team now screams out: it’s budget friendly.

All things considered, this squad is more than capable of surviving quite comfortably, and that’s helped by the fact that they have such a good head coach. It really wouldn’t surprised me if he gets poached by another club, like Chiangrai or Ratchaburi, and if that happens: then they could be in some trouble. Provided ownership finds some money again, it could be a single season of pain for the fans, with better times just around the corner. But if the owners are no longer interested in investing in a solid team: things could get messy.

The big question is: what club do the fans latch themselves onto if this one ceases to exist?





The Sandpits grumpy little thundercloud. You suspect he hates Christmas and doesn't leave the house over Songkran for fear of seeing people enjoy themselves. The author of this one decided to use a nom de plume of their choosing.

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