Former Japan national team boss Akira Nishino made his first media interaction in Tokyo on Friday after officially being named new Thailand head coach.
And the 64-year-old Japanese tactician has wasted no time to set high targets for the War Elephants saying that he would like to take Thailand to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“Of course, I want to take the Thai national team to the World Cup. It is normal. Everyone wants to go to the World Cup. I am determined and fully committed to take the Thailand national team to the World Cup,” Nishino said in the press conference.
Thailand are drawn into Group G of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers Round 2 where they will be joined by United Arab Emirates (UAE) and three ASEAN neighbours in the form of Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
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Thailand will open their campaign when they host Vietnam on September 5 and will then play Indonesia away on September 10, UAE home on October 15, Malaysia away on November 14, Vietnam away on November 19, Indonesia home on March 26, UAE away on June 4 and Malaysia home on June 9.
“My immediate goals are the World Cup Qualifiers and the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship. We also have the 2019 Southeast Asian Games this year where all ASEAN teams will compete seriously,” said Nishino who said that UAE and ASEAN teams will pose a good challenge for Changsuek in the qualifiers.
“I have the experience of training teams in the J1 League and also the Japanese national team. But I know being the head coach of a foreign national team is not going to be easy. Because Thailand are competing in several tournaments over the next year or so. I feel this is a great challenge and will do my best to help the team,” the Japanese coach added.
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Which ASEAN team got the easiest of the draws? .. .. Here’s the complete list of who the eight Southeast Asian nations face in the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers starting September 2019. .. .. .. #afc #asianfootball #fifaworldcup #asiancup #philippines #cambodia #singapore #india #myanmar #vietnam #thailand #malaysia #indonesia
Nishino also felt that the language barrier might not be a problem as he looks to inspire the Thailand international footballers. “As for the language, world champions France have a coach from the same nation. So, they understand each other and it worked really well,” he said.
“But what is more important than the language is the manner in which you convey the feelings which is more important. And I think I have an advantage as I was a footballer before and I think we can all work together with one ultimate goal,” Nishino added.
(Photo courtesy: FA Thailand)