Thai coach warns squad ‘behave or face the axe’

Thailand’s national team have been ordered to behave or face the axe ahead of an important World Cup qualifier and next month’s AFF Suzuki Cup.

Coach Kiatisuk Senamuang has warned players taking part in the team’s training camp about the strict disciplinary measures after several new players joined the squad.

The Thai team reported for training on Friday ahead of their must-win 2018 World Cup qualifying tie against Australia on November 15, just four days before the start of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

According to the Bangkok Post, Kiatisuk told the squad, “There are strict rules for the national players: no smoking, no drinking, no escaping and no gambling.”

“There are newcomers in the team, so they must learn the rules. For senior players, the punishment will be very serious if anyone of them is caught breaking them.

“They will be told to pack their bags and go home. There is no room for leniency or negotiation in this matter. Team discipline is very important.”

“We have a big task ahead of us and our mission is not over,” he added.

Thailand have lost all four of their World Cup Qualifiers to date and face an uphill task to reach Russia 2018.

“We still have six matches left,” he said, adding that he would name his squad for the Suzuki Cup following the qualifier.

“World Cup qualifiers are always keenly fought affairs, so there is a big chance one or more players may sustain injuries,” he said.

The members of the Thailand squad have not played a competitive game since losing 4-0 to Iraq earlier this month following the cancellation of the domestic league in the wake of the death of the King.