Thailand FA forced to cancel UAE friendly

The War Elephants will head into their 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier without playing any warm-up matches after abandoning a game against UAE in China due to visa problems.
By Khalis Rifhan & Thana Wongmanee

Thailand’s preparations for the upcoming 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers have hit a snag after the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) was forced to cancel a friendly game. 

The War Elephants were originally scheduled to travel to China to face Middle-East side UAE, but they have had to abandon those plans after encountering problems with their visa applications.

As the Thais will be playing against Kuwait in their opening qualifier at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, FAT decided to arrange a match with a Thailand Premier League foreign All-Stars team. 

However this back-up plan did not sit well with the local clubs, who did not agree to the release of their foreign signings.

With all these obstacles and challenges, the FAT eventually decided that the national team would make do without any warm-up games match prior to the Kuwait match on February 6. 

Thailand is in Group B alongside Iran and Lebanon, who will both go head-to-head on matchday one at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

The Thais will travel to Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut to face the Lebanese on March 22 for their next qualifying match. 

They failed to qualify for the previous Asian Cup after losing their last match against Group E winners Iran, missing out on second place to Jordan who qualified for the tournament after their 2-1 victory over Singapore.

The 2015 AFC Asian Cup will be hosted by Australia, who have been given direct qualification. Also heading straight to the tournament proper are 2011 champions Japan and South Korea, who finished third at the same tournament.

North Korea have also qualified for the tournament as the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup champions after they cruised to a 2-1 victory over Turkmenistan in the final.