Opinion: The Era of Teerasil Dangda

Building up to the AFF Suzuki Cup, it is inevitable for author, Jeerasak Jomthong, to discuss on the Thai National Team Football and the era of Teerasil Dangda
By: Jeerasak Jomthong
Translate by: Siravuth Subsermsri

In this 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup , Thai fans are giving their hopes to Teerasil Dangda,  striker of the recent Thai Premier League Champion, SCG Muangthong United.

Why did I made that bold statement? It is because Dangda has developed his abilities to become the current best striker in Thailand as his recent scintillated forms in the league campaign ended with a top prize for the highest goalscorer in the league

I have scanned through every single forwards that national coach Winfried Schäfer has called like Pipob On-Mo, Chatree Chimtalay, Napat Thamrongsupakorn, Surachart Sareepim, Kirati Keawsombut, Tana Chanabut, and Sompong Soleb. None of them can produce consistent of form as Dangda.

“this current squad might need to utilize a lone striker in AFF Suzuki Cup, since all of the remaining strikers cannot produce the form that can make them as the main player beside the Muangthong striker”

I noticed that during the past friendly games for Thai National Team, Schäfer attempted to provide opportunities for every forward mentioned on various situations in order to test each of their abilities and see if any of them can form a good combination with Dangda. But from the previous matches, none of them could yet impress the Thai head coach.

                                                   Piyapong Piew-on, Thai Legendary Superstar of Asia

Sometimes I think that this current squad might need to utilize a lone striker in AFF Suzuki Cup, since all of the remaining strikers cannot produce the form that can make them as the main player beside the Muangthong striker.

The current situation of the Thai National Team is similar to the time when the entire country relied on ‘Zico’ Kiatisuk Senamuang, former Thai National player, who brought the team to 3 trophies in 1996, 2000, and 2002; since when the competition was still called ‘Tiger Cup’

                      The backflip, Kiatisuk Senamuang, the face of the Thai ‘Dream Team’ era

After the end of the golden generation of Zico and his dream team squad, the nation has never come back on top in this competition ever since. The closest one was during the 2006 final when Thai and Singapore were the joint hosts and 2008 final when they succumbed to defeat against Vietnam.

Although during the competition (when the cup was called Suzuki in 2008) 19 years old rising star Teerasil Dangda was part of that team, nevertheless, he lacked international experience.

While the previous competition in 2010 in Indonesia and Vietnam, Thailand had the poorest performance in the history of this cup by knocking out of the first round with only 3 goals being scored.  

“The fans awaited for the next rising star.”

At that time, Dangda was not in full condition due to an injury, in contrast to this time. Although he recently sustained an injury from the last match of the Thai Premier League, but it was not as serious as before. His fantastic goalscoring form this season has given plenty of boosts for the Thai people to highly rely on this talented striker.

Thailand has never lacked a forward...in this I mean a goalscorer that is highly respected by fans across Asia or ASEAN. From what I remember, starting from Piyapong Piew-on who was notable in K-League of South Korea and ‘Zico’ Kiatisuk Senamuang who was the fan favorite. Once Zico’s era ended, the nation was missing a lethal forward descendant.

There were several names that had high potentials such as Sarayuth Chaikamdee or even Teerathep Winothai who was part of Crystal Palace academy in England.

Nonetheless, both of these names were not the answer to the Thai goalscoring record and were not the real descendant to the former legendaries mentioned. The fans awaited for the next rising star.

I was also another fan at the time that were keeping tab of ‘The Thai New Hope’  who can be in the same calibre as Piew-on and Senamuang. And finally! Teerasil Dangda, the new descendent who I believe can be our new hope.

Golden era of Dangda can start from now on.......