Thailand’s new era begins under Naruephon

Published on: 06 July 2019

Bangkok: Life after FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 has begun for Thailand, with Kaenson Naurephon appointed as head coach for the women’s national team.

Replacing two-time World Cup boss Nuengrutai Srathongvian, Naurephon will guide the Chaba Kaew in their AFF Women’s Championship title defence on home soil in Chonburi in August.

The 47-year-old coach takes the reins of the senior squad after leading the Thai U-15 women’s team to a Southeast Asian title in May, as well steering the national U-16 side to four wins from four qualifiers for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, which Thailand is also set to host in September.

Naurephon will be joined by new team manager Sirima Panichewa, a director of Thai League 1 outfit Samut Prakan City, who replaces long-term national team director Nualphan Lamsam.

Nuengrutai and Lamsam stepped down from their respective roles after their largely successful tenures ended with three successive defeats and group stage elimination at France 2019.

The new leadership team will look to hit the ground running, with a 36-strong playing contingent to assemble in Bangkok on Monday to begin preparations for the AFF Women’s Championship, which begins on August 15.

Drawn alongside Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Timor-Leste at the competition, Thailand will look to add to the regional titles they claimed in past three editions of the tournament in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Thailand are also among the eight Asian sides still in the qualification race for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with the continent’s final two participants at the Games to be confirmed next March.

Photo: FIFA via Getty Images