Sunday, 27 June 2010

Updates - Raj win, Futsal and Nonthaburi FC

Rajpracha continued their return to form with an impressive win away to RBAC (Rattanabundit) in a rescheduled game. Raj took the lead in the first half before RBAC equalised. In the second half of an open game, the winning goal finally fell to Raj in a similar vein to the equalising goal against Chiang Rai in midweek.

I didn't attend the game but I did attend the futsal match between Nonthaburi and Thai Port at The Mall Bang Khae. The event was highly popular - I'd estimate 400 - 500 people attended - and well organised. The match itself was highly entertaining. I was not familiar with the rules of futsal so it was a surprise that a forty minute match actually spans well over one hour. This is because the clock is stopped whenever the ball goes out of play. This helps to stop the notorious problem in Asian football of time wasting, although there were still one or two suspect incidents. Nonthaburi held a lead for most of the game but still managed to lose 4-5. I enjoyed the event and will attend some more matches. The Thai Port blog has more information on Thai Futsal in English.

Picture credit: 
Nonthaburi FC's fixture for the last two weeks have been cancelled. The next game is July 4th, away to Asia Rose.

Friday, 25 June 2010

New head coach

Former Bangkok United coach Somchai Supperm has been named as new head coach of Rajpracha.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Raj 1 Chiang Rai United 1 - report

 Goalscorer - Sarawaut Sintupun

What a difference four days can make! Rajpracha fought back to earn a well-deserved one-all draw with northerners Chiang Rai United in front of a small crowd that included a large proportion of away fans who made the twelve hour or more journey from Chiang Rai, as well as Chiang Rai natives now based in and around Bangkok.

But the small number of home fans - remember this was an early kick off on a day that England were playing World Cup football on TV - spurred on a much improved Rajpracha team to a bright start.

It seems that many of the problems I discussed in my last blog were recognised by the management. The two outfield African players - Walumpah and Thierry  Touoyem - were returned to defence and attack respectively, adding desperately needed muscle to the outfield. The whole team looked determined and ready to receive the ball and make something happen at any time. Perhaps the most remarkable change was in Nirun Phuntong, who looked back to his nutmegging, feinting, pacing best instead of just being a lightweight midfielder getting nudged off the ball every time.  On one occasion he was played into trouble in his own box and responded by beating two men and playing a safe square ball to clear the danger.Last Saturday, it would have been a sure opening for the opposition.

But for all the drive, Raj still lacked presence in the Chiang Rai penalty area. Around the twenty minute mark, CR scored the opening goal. I missed it so I can't say what happened. Raj fans and players responded well and redoubled their efforts. By contrast, Chiang Rai responded by almost immediately employing time wasting tactics. The stretcher appeared three times before half time.

The second half was a similar story as Raj chased the game and CRU attacked on the break or attempted to run down the clock. The latter tactic was finally stopped after the eighth stretcher appearance on the field. A CRU player pretended to be limping off the pitch and was booked for time wasting.

Undeterred by such bad sportsmanship, Raj mixed the usual wing play with some attacks through the middle - another problem by its absence I mentioned last time - where they were given more space than they've had in recent games.

Still it seemed that it would not be enough. After all, Raj still lack a true poacher in attack and crosses and dangerous square balls in the box never seem to fall to the right person at the right time. I felt it would take a bit of luck to grab the equaliser but luck finally came through about ten minutes from time as waist-high cross bounced off the midriff of a CRU defender and somehow squirmed through to number fourteen Sarawut, who tapped it in.

The relief lifted the team further still and the lads chased the winner in the dying moments but it was not to come. Indeed, Yen Emile still had some saves to make which he did comfortably. It was yet another solid display from this reliable keeper. The heavy defeats of late were not his fault at all.

A draw was probably a fair score in this game. It's a shame CRU attempted to take the dirty way out but the great improvement in Rajpracha - coupled with a promise of new faces in the transfer window -  should give us all hope for the relegation scrap we now face. Good job guys!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Raj Vs Chula - photos

Great pictures - here

Raj Vs Chiang Rai - quick preview

Rajpracha-Nonthaburi will be looking to break their nightmare losing streak tomorrow as they face off against Chiang Rai United.

The game was originally scheduled to take place a few weeks ago, but was cancelled an hour before kick off as a curfew was imposed in response tot he violence taking place in Bangkok.

Psychologically, this fixture should be ideal for Raj to return to winning ways. The last meeting between the two sides was played at Chiang Rai and ended in a victory for Rajpracha. It was Chiang Rai's second ever defeat in league football.

The fallout from Saturday's crushing defeat has been moderate. Many fans have expressed upset and concern. The club have responded by saying that all opinions are welcome but they ask for them to be expressed the right way. The club also stated that the coaches are aware of the problems and what needs to be done. No personnel have been changed.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Rajpracha 1 Chula United 6 - Report

Image credit:

The photo above really does say it all. Raj sank to an abysmal low with a humiliating defeat by fellow strugglers Chula Utd in a home game.

Both teams began looking determined but literally within minutes, the confidence began to drain from Rajpracha and appeared to fill Chula players.

Rajpracha's well documented (by yours truly) lack of muscle was further compounded by the absence of defender Wulumpah and the midfield - like England the night before - was almost non existent. Chula United's clone of Peter Crouch in their midfield picked up anything Raj played through the middle. Such easy sweeping allowed Chula to play three forwards and they ran Raj's disorganised and poorly positioned back line ragged over and over again.

Two of Chula's three first half goals were due to appalling positioning and communication by the Raj back line, leaving Chula strikers in shocking amounts of space.

At half time, coach Prapan brought on Tammasee and Phuntong to no avail. Phuntong is a skillful player but he epitomises the problems of his team; he is easily muscled off the ball, is low on confidence and - when the team is struggling -  he needs a leader on the field to urge him on.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first and before long it was five - nil to Chula, with the fifth goal coming from an undeserved penalty. Rajpracha players looked lost, with nobody willing to take responsibility to make something happen. Sideways passes went astray, soft overlapping play was easily cleared by Chula's two lanky midfielders and high balls to the small forwards reaped no rewards.

Raj's consolation goal came after they went six-nil down. Credit must be given to Chula United who looked far from the ex-Premiership team in freefall I expected them to be. If they continue to play like this, they will move up the table fast.

Alarm bells have been ringing for Rajpracha since the five goal thrashing three weeks ago. Today marked a real low and it must surely, surely leave resignation as the only option for the coach. The players looked devoid of ideas, energy, drive or - crucially - confidence. The substitutions made by the coach appear random and lacking in benefit. Why is our best striker - and the only one over five foot something in height - only ever used when we are already losing? The midfield have absolutely nothing going through the middle and the lack of muscle makes it so easy for other teams to win 50-50 challenges.

Don't get me wrong, as a lightweight myself, I value the skill and speed of the smaller players. But a whole team of Michael Owens would not cut it in any league, let alone a tough league like TD1. For every pint sized poacher, you need a clogger backing him up.

What is needed is a new coach to restore confidence and self-belief in the players, a target man in the strike force, a midfielder with muscle who is not afraid to do the dirty work in scrappy games and some serious training exercises on build up play that goes further than overlapping on the wing. As neat as our wide play is, teams have caught on to it and we have absolutely no other build up plan.

Finally, perhaps the Thunderdome is not the best place for us to play home games. Its capacity is 21,000 , our crowds are less than 300. Surely another, smaller, stadium is available for us to use where we can generate more atmosphere?

If rumours of players turning up late for training are true, than that must be punished, too.

Rajpracha are still very much the same squad as last season. They are a talented bunch of players who play good football when they can. But with such a young average age in the squad, they can easily lose their way and they need someone to get them back on track. If we find ourselves back in Division Two, it won't be so easy to get out of it next time.

The tough decisions need to be made now, while there is still time left.

Today's team:
1 - Yen Emile
2- Guparang
4- Wisarut
5 - Boonsopit
14 - Sintupan
 11 - Jaroompom
20 - Sittitanyakit
23 - Somat
8 - Intharalak
17 - Sulaiman
19 - Poltawee

16 - Tammasse and 21 - Punthong came on in the second half.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Raj 0 Thai Honda 1 - Report

 Dawuda Walumpa in an aerial challenge
(photo credit:

Rajpracha sank to another poor defeat in a luckluster display against Thai Honda.

In a kind gesture to thank fans who turned up to support the team despite World Cup games on TV and Muangthong playing just up the road in Saraburi, home fans were given free tickets for this match. Thank you to the people who offered one to me.

In the first half, Rajpracha continued to play the neat football they have displayed all season but with little end product. Neither side had a lot of chances in the first half. Raj choose to play two strikers - Ishizui and Somak - but the two small men were unable to create chances against the two taller centre backs marking them. Wisarut once again looked a higher class as he continued to create space and movement on the left of midfield but the final ball was lacking.

Thai Honda scored early in the second half. To compound the misery, the goal was created from a wasted chance by Raj. Number 23, Kittipong Somat (I think it was him) received the ball just outside the Honda penalty box and instead of shooting or playing a square ball, he hesitated and play a nervous one-two to play his teammate into trouble, from which Honda took the ball upfield and scored. The hesitation was probably a symptom of Raj's recent poor run of form.

Highly rated striker Tammasee made an appearance midway into the second half but although Raj enjoyed more possession, they seemed to lack self-belief. By the final ten minutes, they had clearly run out of ideas and played to the final whistle.

So the early season optimism is now rapidly degenerating into a relegation struggle. However, The Raj still have plenty of talent and potential in the squad. What is missing - as I have said before - is muscle, height and power in midfield and attack. Two small strikers playing in Division 1 need back up if they are going to score goals. The restrictions on foreigners seems to deter the coach from signing another African player, so perhaps a Thai target man is what we need.

Next up is Chula United, another struggling team. A win is absolutely vital.

Today's line up in the second half:

1 - Yen Emile
2- Guparang
4- Wisarut
5 - Boonsopit
15 - Walumpah
 11 - Jaroompom
21 - Punthong
23 - Somat
8 - Intharalak (I think)
16 - Tammasee
19 - Poltawee

Thursday, 10 June 2010

FA Cup 3rd Round draw

Buriram PEA (TPL) Vs Ratchatewi (D2?)
Nakhom Pathom (D1) Vs Customs FC (D1)
TTM Pichit (TPL )Vs Police United (TPL)
Suphanburi (D1) Vs Army FC (TPL)
TOT (TPL) Vs Saraburi (TPL)
Sumthorn Sakhorn JK (D2) v Chonburi (TPL)

Thai Port (TPL) v Bang Phra (?)
BKK Utd (TPL) v Khon Kaen (D1)
Muang Thong United (TPL)v Ban Beung (Non-league?)
Rajpracha (D1) v Prachinburi (D1)
Navy Rayong (TPL) v BKK Glass (TPL)
Chula United (D1) v Sisaket (TPL)
Samut Songkhram (TPL) v Phuket (D2)
Chiang Rai United (D1) v BEC Tero (TPL)
SriRacha (D1) v Rachaburi (D2?)

There may be some games I've missed out.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Raj updates

Photos of our bottom kicking from Songkhla can be seen here.

Our  next opponents are Thai Honda FC on Sunday. Here's a clip of them beating Khoen Kean FC, with help from some comical defending.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Songkhla 4 Raj 0

Things starting to go very wrong?
ore to follow.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Interview with Lee Tuck - Nakhom Pathom FC

Lee Tuck is an English player who plays for Nakhom Pathom in Division One. I was curious to find out more about Lee after seeing him play against Rajpracha. The sight of a tradtional style English player on the pitch getting stuck in against those schooled in the Asian style of football was fun to watch. and I managed to get in touch with him by email. Lee was very friendly and happy to answer my questions.

Could you please tell us briefly about your football career in England? 

I played football in England for a team called Halifax Town AFC which at that time was in Blue Square Premier then I went to sign for a team called Farsley Celtic AFC which was in Blue Square North that season we won the league so promotion to the Blue Sqaure Premier which I played for Farsley for another 2 years

How did the move to Thailand come about?
The move came about when I spoke to Micheal Byrne, he told me about the football, the Thai people, the lifestyle so i was more than happy to come over from what Micheal told me.

Did you find it difficult to adjust to football and life in general in Thailand?

No I didn't find it difficult to adjust to the life in Thailand, I like Thai food, Thai people are so friendly and very helpful they are good people, I'm very happy in Thailand the only thing I found hard was playing in the hot weather I'm getting better now but we kick off 4 o'clock at home, that time it's still very hot but I'm really happy in Thailand.

How would you rate the standard of the TPL and Division One compared to the English leagues?
English and Thai football ain't played the same maybe because the weather is different and the English football is more of a contact sport but the football played in england and Thailand ain't much different.

Nakhom Pathom are near the top of D1 in these early days, how is morale in the squad? Are you ready to make a return to the TPL?
Yes the morale is good in the Nakhon Pathom team, its still early days in the league we are just taking every week as it comes and trying 2 win every game,
Yea I want 2 play in the TPL but for now my goal is to be champions with Nakhon Pathom FC.

Many thanks to Lee and best wishes to him and his team for the rest of the season.

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