BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Thailand U23 head coach Worrawoot Srimaka is confident that his team will defend their SEA Games gold medal, in the 2017 edition which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia later this month.
This is despite the fact that his side finished runners up to Malaysia U23 in Group H of the 2018 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers, which was hosted in Bangkok, Thailand in July.
“We had a series of unfortunate turn of events. Hopefully, something good should happen.
“We have been through such crises in the U-23 event. We have survived and that means there’s nothing to worry. We should be able to win the gold,” said the coach as quoted by The Nation.
Although the War Elephants trounced the Young Tigers 3-0 in the qualifiers, they could only record a 1-1 draw against lowly Mongolia U23, and a 0-0 draw against Indonesia U23, to finish second in the group, with both draws played on a soggy National Stadium pitch due to heavy rain. They however still qualified as one of the five best-performing second-placed finishers in the qualifiers.
According to the report by The Nation, Worrawoot and his boys were heavily criticised in the kingdom for their failure to top the group.
Malaysia meanwhile hammered Indonesia 3-0, and defeated Mongolia 2-0, with none of the eventual group winners' matches played in inclement weather.
Malaysia meanwhile have set a more humble target; to qualify for the final match.
Thailand captured the gold medal in the 2015 edition, which was hosted by Singapore, after defeating Myanmar 3-0 in the final match.