Thailand coach Kiatisak Senamuang believes that his side will be able to deal with the intense heat when they face Saudi Arabia in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Riyadh on Thursday.
Temperatures in the Saudi Arabia capital reach the mid-40s at this time of year, but Kiatisak has insisted he isn’t too concerned about the conditions as Thailand spent time acclimatizing in Doha, Qatar, before travelling to Saudi Arabia.
“The weather is about 43-45C but this should not affect our players because we trained in Doha before we came here,” Kiatisak said. “Every player is ready for the match.”
Upon arriving in Riyadh, Kiatisak was immediately forced to go on the defensive when reporters asked him to confirm reports that he had called the match against Saudi Arabia a “warm-up game”. The War Elephants have not beaten Saudi Arabia since October 1984.
The 43-year-old was quick to deny this, saying: “We respect every opponent. Saudi Arabia are a strong team and I did not say this would be an easy game.”
Following their clash with Saudi Arabia, Thailand will take on Japan in Bangkok next Tuesday.
Thailand face a tough battle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq also pooled in Group B, with only the top two teams in each group guaranteed a spot in Russia.