Reigning champions Thailand arrived in Malaysia Saturday confident of defending their SEA Games football title.
The head coach of the Thai U-22 team Worrawoot Srimaka said his players have been training hard and were ready to give their all as they bid to win the most prized medal for the third time in succession.
“We come here to defend the gold medal we won two years ago in Singapore and I have prepared the players to be in good shape because we know the competition will be even tougher this year,” he said via an interpreter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday.
“Although there are a large number of new faces, I have full confidence that they will give their best.”
Worrawoot, who himself won three golds and a silver at SEA Games during his playing career, said that Group B was tough and retaining the gold medal would not be easy.
Thailand opponent’s include Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Timor Leste and the Philippines.
“All teams pose a threat to us, especially Vietnam and Indonesia, who are among the strong medal contenders,” said Worrawoot.
The coach came in for criticism earlier this month after Thailand failed to finish top of their group in the recent AFC U23 qualifying campaign, but at the time said: “We have been through such crises before. We have survived and that means there’s nothing to worry about. We should be able to win the gold,” the said.
The Young War Elephants open their defence against Indonesia at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday.