Football

Thai football team visit monk who blessed Leicester

Thailand's Under-22 football team are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to win their third consecutive SEA Games gold medal.

Last Friday, Thai U-22 coach Worrawoot Srimaka took his team to visit revered monk Phra Prommangkalachan in the Golden Buddha Temple in Bangkok and they returned with blessings and amulets.

Leicester City's Thai owners had also enlisted the monk's spiritual guidance during their stunning EPL title-winning season in 2015/2016.

Worrawoot reiterated his mission to win the gold on Saturday, after his team arrived at the KL International Airport.

"We come here to retain the gold medal we had won two years ago in Singapore," he said through an interpreter.

"Although I brought a large number of new faces, I have full confidence that they will give their best."

In the 2015 edition in Singapore, Thailand romped to their title in style, scoring 24 goals and conceding just one, as they won all seven matches.

The star of that side, Chanathip Songkrasin, who is no longer with the Thai U-22s, secured an 18-month loan move to J-League side Consadole Sapporo this year.

Worrawoot, a former Thai international striker, is under no illusions about his task at hand.

Last month, his side came under fire for not finishing top of their U-23 Asian Cup qualification group which they hosted.

They beat Malaysia 3-0, but drew 0-0 with Mongolia and 1-1 with Indonesia. Malaysia went on to win the group.

"We have been through such crises in the U-23 event. We have survived and that means there's nothing to worry. We should be able to win the (SEA Games) gold," Worrawoot, who played for Kelantan in the Malaysian league, told Thai daily The Nation.

Thailand will open their Group B campaign against Indonesia tomorrow.

Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Timor Leste complete the group. - WIRE SERVICES

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