Thursday, 28 October 2010

Muangthong United Vs Rajpracha Nonthaburi - photos

Finally then, some god match photos, copyright of and posted by Thanuwat at
Former Muangthong player Wisarut Pannasi
Christian Vs Yen Emile
Raj's player of the year Saruwat could not handle Thai international Teerasil, not this time anyway.
There's a few more images here. Image credit: (all)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

MTU Vs Raj - media

Credit: Siam Sport via
The MTU fan site forum has been down for a long time and there are no pictures on the Raj forum yet so it's not been easy to get any multimedia of yesterday's FA Cup game. The only circulated picture is the one above and the only video I know of is below. You can also download the whole game from here if you have enough free time thanks to a user by the name of ซุปเปอร์โด้ at thailandsusu.

This defeat at the feet of the Quilins brings Raj's tumultuous season to a close. It's had plenty of high and low points but overall, survival in the first division in a debut season and a strong cup run must be considered a success.

This blog will now go into close season mode with a couple of reflective articles followed by short, sharp updates until the hype for next season begins. The biggest question for Raj fans will be: will Raj return home next season?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Result - Muangthong United 4 Rajpracha-Nonthaburi 0

Muangthong United defeated Rajpracha with ease in the FA Cup quarter finals with goals from Christian, Teerasil, Dagno and an own goal from Kittipong.

MTU now advance to face Navy Rayong in the semi finals at Rayong (no neutral grounds in Thailand until the final).

Monday, 25 October 2010

Interview with a Rajpracha fan

Nene (wearing glasses)
As a follower of Rajpracha myself, it was comparatively easy to get an interview with a Rajpracha fan before the match between Muangthong and Raj.
So thanks then to Nene for his time. Bear in mind this interview was conducted before the game's original scheduled date about three millennia ago, so Raj's recent struggle - and victory - against relegation is not mentioned.

1) Could you tell us your nickname, your age and what you do for work?
A: Hi, My name is Ne'. I'm 27 and my work is about Information and Communication Technology study, research and educational services.

2) How long have you supported Rajpracha and why did you choose them?

A: I supported the team since the last year (2009) when the team has competed in Regional League D2, (Bangkok and Metropolitan zone) but I heard about the rich history of the team when I was young.
The reason that I choose to support the team because I find the one team that I really want to support and the team must locate around my home (Locality Loyalty reason) and I heard Rajpracha joined Nonthaburi and selected Nonthaburi Provincial Stadium (Wat Boat Don Prom) as a home stadium.
So I think this is a good chance to choose team that i want to be with.

3) Rajpracha were promoted last season as D2 Champions. How do you think they have performed in their first season in D1?

A: For the starting season period, I think we can perform quite well as a new promoted team but the situation of team is going down after we lost Prachinburi FC for away game 2-1 and the form continued poor results, we lost many matches.
We have many problems about the team management until we changed head coach from Praphan Premsri to Somchai Supperm and the thing is turning to good way that it could be.
For this season I just expect the team will be in mid-table and doing well in FA cup tournament.

4) How do you think most Raj fans feel about Muangthong United? Do they like them or do they see them as rivals (as English fans do with other local teams)?

A: I think most Raj fans don't think seriously to be rivals with MTUTD because this is Thailand we live as peace and we just want to enjoy and see the favourite team play well.
Sometimes I saw many of MTUTD fans supported Rajpracha and they enjoyed together.

5) Raj have played away from their real home ground this season and played at the Thunderdome instead. Why is this and how do fans feel about it?

A: Nonthaburi Provincial Stadium is under construction and improving for ready for football league competition. Most Raj fans is waiting to return back to real own stadium that they think they are.
Our team play at Thunderdome that really effect for local fans around our home ground.

6) What tactics do you think Rajpracha will play in this game? Who will be the key players for them?

A: I think we have to play carefully with the defensive approach and use counter attack style. MTUTD has many good skill players to threat us.
Did you know, few players of MTUTD is former players of Rajpracha when they were youngster.
My opinion, Raj key players for this match will be our foreign players (GK-Yen, DF-Dawuda, FW-Sylla).
They have strength and good techniques to resist the attacking game from MTUTD and we hope our striker will create a chance to turning this game.

7) Finally, do you have a prediction for the match?

A: Any result, I'm welcome. I just deeply hope Raj will pass to the final !!!


Thanks again to Nene for his time.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Raj season awards

Rajpracha fans voted for the team's best foreign player and best Thai player respectively before last Saturday's one-all draw with Khoen Kean. Unsurprisingly, Yen Emile won the 'foreign' category while Sarawut Sintupun won the local honours. Congratulations to them both. For my part I voted for Yen Emile and Awakjit Sulaiman, who returned to action on Saturday for the first time since his injury, which will be a huge boost to Raj ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup game with Muangthong.

These pictures courtesy of Dreizehn@ชฎาเกรท at the Rajpracha website.

Yen receives his award.

And Sarawut takes his award, just before his bedtime.

Sulaiman back in action
Chang girls, along with the club president

Muangthong United Vs Rajpracha Nonthaburi - key players

This week's Nonthaburi/Thunderdome derby promises to be a very interesting affair, and one which is bound to be ambivalent for me, regardless of the outcome.

A fan interview will appear here in due course, but for those who prefer to focus on the technical side of things, I thought I'd take advantage of my familiarity with both sets of players and take a look at some of the possible tactical battles that will take place and discuss how they could affect the game.

Dawudah Walumpah (CB) Vs Kone Muhammed (AM/FW)

Forward Kone Muhammad often enjoys an advantage over opposing defenders because of his imposing height, pace and muscle. However, Raj's Dawudah will match him in almost all of those departments. Though he is slightly shorter, the centre back will certainly not be intimidated by Kone's power and pace. Naturally, Kone is a more technical all round player but if Dawudah sticks to what he does best which is using his own pace and strength to get to the ball first and clear it anywhere, he could make Kone and his teammates work hard for the victory.

Awakajit Sulaiman (AM/FW) Vs Piyachart Thamaphan (pictured) (LB) or Weerawut Kavem (LB)

The young right-winger Sulaiman has played a large part in Rajpracha's recent rich run of form. His neat first touch combined with his pace, good crossing and willingness to run at defenders has created a whole lot of openings for his side. Take a look at his part (he's number seventeen) in this goal for example. However, it's likely he'll get far less space than he's used to against the TPL champions and if he's up against Piyachart, he'll also have to do some tracking back to stop Muangthong's number eleven from getting in some crosses of his own. Will this encounter make or break Raj's talented winger?
Note: Sulaiman's recent injury may rule him out of this clash.

Teerasil Dangda (ST) Vs Yen Emile (GK)

You don't need an introduction for Teerasil. You don't even need me to talk about him. The lean striker does his talking on the pitch with quality finishing from either foot, heading from set pieces, build up play with his back to goal and quality team work with his intelligent reading of the game.

You might not be so familiar with Yen Emile, but he is equally deserving of praise. Raj's keeper - signed from Saraburi M150 or whatever they are called - has been worth at least ten points to his team this season in my opinion, pulling off some saves that are as astonishing as his Thunderdome counterpart Kawin. If Raj are to give Muangthong any kind of contest in their encounter, it's likely that Yen will need to pull off a few more point-blank stops against, arguably, Thailand's best out-and-out striker.

Noppadon Ponudom (ST) or Tameezee Hayeeyusoh (ST) Vs Kawin Thamsatchanan (GK)

When Raj were going through their mid-season slump, they looked to their highly rated striker Tamasee (pictured) for goals. The player had allegedly attracted TPL interest in the close season and fans were delighted to keep him, but as the goals dried up and rumours of missed training sessions spread (his looks may have created distractions off the pitch?) management called in Noppadom from Bangkok United as a mid-season purchase. The goals followed, not just from the new boy but from a re-energised Tamasee, too. What is sure is that whichever of the strikers plays in this one, they'll not get many openings and when they do, they'll have to do what very few players have done before them and score past Kawin on his own turf.

Photo credits: (all Raj players) (Kawin) (Kone) (Piyachart) (Teerasil)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Why Raj deserve to be in D1

Rajpracha's survival in Division 1 was finally secured on Wednesday night when Chantaburi failed to defeat Air Force United. I'm absolutely delighted for Rajpracha as although the league table never lies at the end of the season, I am certain that 'The Crowns' not only deserve to stay up, but are in fact one of the best teams in D1.

So how then, did we come so close to the drop zone? Well the problem began shortly into the start of the campaign. After a strong set of opening games that put us in a top five slot, Raj began a slump in form that saw us getting hammered on a regular basis. It quickly became apparent that the new coach was not competent and the squad started to look more and more like a nervous bunch of schoolkids playing against men. It must be said that the people in charge took too long to deal with this problem in my opinion, it was obvious what needed to be done a long time before action was taken to remove the coach. We suffered for that delay. However, even in this period the players showed bursts of the quality they are capable of.

New coach Somchai quickly set about making changes and improvements and the players started to show what they can do. A win at home to (then) second placed Air Force United was followed by a win away to Nakhom Pathom (still in the promotion race), a narrow home defeat to runaway leaders Sriracha was followed by a two-nil win against them in the FA Cup and that in turn was followed by a draw with Chiang Rai United who are also still hunting promotion. In all these games Rajpracha showed superb football skills, as they played a passing and attacking game with pace, skill and confidence.

But with such a large deficit the team were always playing catch-up in a sixteen team division with four teams taking the drop and just a couple of poor results set us back. A loss away to Thai Honda was followed by a terrible official's decision at Chula United that literally turned a win into a defeat, plunging 'The Crowns' back into trouble. It also seemed strange that both the old coach and his replacement seemed to rotate players for the sake of it, even though some are clearly so much better than others.

There followed a nervy few days for the fans, not least myself having tasted relegation with Southampton and never wishing to taste it again. But other results soon ensured Raj's fate was back at their own feet and they never looked back, winning away to Narathaiwat and crushing RBAC at home.

That win sets the scene for this Saturday (with a new kick off time of 1530) as fans of both teams prepare a joint party to give their "player(s) of the season awards" and celebrate promotion and survival respectively. For Raj, it also means they can now look forward to the exciting FA Cup tie with neighbours Muangthong next week.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Yet more relegation analysis

It's been pointed out to me that PTT have the advantage over Raj because although the H2H scores between the sides are equal, PTT have more away goals, which is used as a splitter before goal difference.

The good news however is that Raj could be safe before their next and final league game on Saturday not only if Chantaburi fail to beat Air Force, but also if PTT - who have actually shown very strong form recently - beat Prachinburi tomorrow.

Credit and copyright:

Raj 4 RBAC 0 - Report

Raj took a huge step towards safety tonight with a four goal win over RBAC that could have reached double figures but for some better finishing.

From the start, RBAC looked like a jaded team resigned to their fate. With respect to them, I truly struggle to think of any team I've seen with such poor shooting.

Defender Dawudah Walumpah opened the scoring in the first five minutes. It looked like floodgates could open but several misses by Raj buoyed RBAC, who came out attacking in the second half. However, most of their shots came closer to the South Stand ceiling or the corner flag.

Raj introduced Wisarut (for Phuntong) for the second half and the left back almost immediately hit the target and made the score two-nil.

Wisarut then missed a couple of golden chances for himself but made amends by setting up two further goals for Raj by timing simple runs to beat the RBAC back line and then playing a square ball in the penalty area.

Towards the end of the game things became embarrassingly easy for Raj and they had chances to score even more. But the important thing is the result and the spirit of the team that shone through today.

Raj's final league game is this Saturday but if Chantaburi fail to beat Air Force on Wednesday, Raj will be secure.

Raj starting line up:

1 GK Yen Emile

2 DF  Suriya Kupalang
19 DF Nuttapol Poontawee
15 DF Walumpah
21 DF Nirun Phunthong
23 DF Kittipong Somak

27 MD Pichit Kesaro
10 MD Seksit Srisai
14 MD Sarawut Sintupan

13 FW  Narakorn Wisetthanakarn
26 ST Noppadon Ponudom

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Updated relegation analysis - 16/10/10

Raj's game today became another victim of the Thunderdome pitch and rainy season. The game is rescheduled for Monday. Nobody seems to know about KO time, though. At this time it appears that Chantaburi's game with AFU may also have been postponed.

Results from today went in Raj's favour with PTT drawing at home to Khoen Kean and Prachinburi losing at home to Chiang Rai. This means PTT and Prachinburi have both lost their game in hand and both teams sit along with Raj at 35 points from 28 games. Chantaburi remain in the first relegation spot of thirteenth place with 33 points from 28 games.

Raj have the 'head to head' advantage over Prachiburi (4-3) and Chantaburi (2-1) but PTT and Raj stand at 4-4 on 'head to head'. Therefore the deciding factor is goal difference, where PTT have a ten goal advantage over Raj ( minus three for PTT, minus thirteen for Raj).

Possible permutations remain multitude but one worth considering is that if Chantaburi fail to defeat AFU, then Raj would need just two points from their remaining two games to be safe.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Narathaiwat 0 Rajpracha 1 - D1 relegation analysis

A Wisarut goal after nine minutes was enough to give Raj a nervy win away to already relegated Narathaiwat.

The win puts Raj in eleventh place with 35 points from 28 games. PTT are next behind with 34 points from 27 games, next, and in the first relegation spot are Chantaburi with 33 points from 28 games.

Chantaburi must play Air Force home and Chula away. I think they will struggle to get more than four points from these games.

PTT play Khoen Kean home, Prachinburi home and RBAC away. I expect them to win at least two of these games.

Raj play RBAC at home (this Saturday at 1630) and Khoen Kean at home next weekend. They must look to take all six points but four might be enough.

The glamorous FA Cup tie against Muangthong that looked to be the final act of the season has now taken back seat in the minds of staff, players and fans.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Raj in relegation zone

Rajpracha have dropped into thirteenth spot, the final relegation spot, after PTT Rayong's surprise 2-0 victory over Customs FC at the weekend. The league table now looks like this:
Raj must play Narathaiwat away (Weds), RBAC at home (Sat) and Khoen Kean home (Saturday next week).
PTT Rayong must play Khoen Kean home and RBAC away.
Chantaburi must play Air Force home and Chula Utd away.

Raj's fate is in their own hands. If they win all three games they will finish above Chantaburi.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Chula Utd V Rajpracha - better quality clip and pics

Both these pictures and the following clip are higher quality than the previous offerings. Things get interesting around 5:40...

Rajpracha fined 5,000 baht

Raj have been officially punished by the TPL for what the body described as "splashing water and using abusive language towards officials [by supporters]" following Saturday's heartbreaking encounter with Chula United.

Lots of media of the game is available but there is no footage of the disallowed goal or the response of the officials.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Chula United 1 Rajpracha 0 - photos and clip

Spot the ball?

More photos - credit b-box at - here

Youtube clip below. Unsurprisingly, the disallowed goal has been edited out.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Chula United 1 Rajpracha 0 - Report

A hugely controversial decision spelled disaster for Rajpracha as Chula United took a one goal victory to land the visitors back in a  heavy relegation struggle.

The game opened up awkwardly on the astro pitch with the clouds above threatening to open at any moment. Rajpracha struggled to find any movement on the strange surface and gave the ball away softly far too many times. They also tried the same long ball tactics against Chula - who have a far greater average player height - that failed so miserably in the 1-6 drubbing against the 'Pink Panthers' at home. However the game was goalless at half time.

In the second half Raj responded to what was obviously a good team talk and began their own passing game. Two or three golden chances went begging including one shot that was desperately cleared by a diving Chula defender.

However the deadlock appeared broken when Raj's number 26 (I think) Noppadom caught a  rebound on his chest and smashed home into an open goal. However, about three seconds later the linesman raised his flag and indicated handball. Players and fans were shellshocked and within a minute Chula had taken the free kick, moved downfield and scored with a low effort that appeared to have 'keeper Yen Emile blindsided.

Stunned Rajpracha players rallied and continued to apply some pressure, forcing one Chula defender to overcommit and get himself sent off, but the game ended shortly after.

Ugly scenes followed as Raj players surrounded the officials and some Raj fans - including myself I'm ashamed to say - approached the tunnel to voice their mind and swap insults with some Chula fans who were enjoying it.

It didn't do us any credit of course, but I can understand the reaction as this was a crucial game that could play a pivotal role in Raj's season and the linesman was the only person in the stadium that saw the handball. Let's hope to see a video of the goal to determine if he was right.

However, Raj must now move on, ask themselves why they didn't control the game from earlier on and look for three crucial points against bottom side Narathaiwat next week.

Rajpracha starting side:
1. Yen Emile
4. Wisarut DF
23. Kittipong DF
19.Pontawee DF
32.Thanapon Phao DF
28. Phairot  DF
7. Deeprom MD
27. Pichit MD
10. Seksit MD
26. Noppadom ST
25. Thanachot FW