AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Thailand’s Supachai unfazed by prospect of playing in front of 80,000 Malaysia fans

Thailand striker Supachai Jaided has seen his stock rise massively in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, and the teenage sensation has no qualms playing in front of 80,000 passionate Malaysian fans in the War Elephants’ semifinal first leg on Saturday.

The Bukit Jalil Stadium is renowned for its daunting atmosphere, but Supachai, who has already scored 3 goals in the competition so far, feels it will not affect his performance on the night.

“I don’t feel nervous about it. We have played in Malaysia before. We know that they will have a lot of fans when we go there and they will get behind their team. But we’ll just focus on our game out on the pitch and there is no need to feel any added pressure due to the noise from the home crowd,” the 19-year-old  told AFF Suzuki Cup official website.

Supachai has already tasted his fair share of success, winning the Man-of-the-Match award for his efforts against Singapore, but he remains firmly grounded, focussing on the bigger picture instead.

“Everyone played well and stayed focused on getting the victory we needed. We planned well and carried out the plan effectively.

“I didn’t really think about any other achievements. I just tried to focus on my game out on the pitch and helping the team get out of the group and into the semi-final.”

Meanwhile, Mika Chunuonsee, who made his debut in the competition, felt it was an honour to be given the opportunity to play at such a level.

“It was a great experience for me. I have waited for this moment for four or five years. I didn’t expect to start tonight but we have 23 players in the squad that can all start.

“We’ve all been in good form so whoever the coach decides to play, we’re all ready. For me personally, it was an honour just to get on that field and get my first start in the Suzuki Cup and hopefully many more to come,” Mika added.

Thailand, despite naming a weakened squad for the competition, have looked far and away the best side, easing into the semi-finals where they will square off against Malaysia.