(Reuters) - The return of Teerasil Dangda, Theerathon Bunmathan and Chanathip Songkrasin may force Thailand to make a few tactical tweaks but vice-captain Chalermpong Kerdkaew said their experience will only improve the team’s chances at the Asian Cup.
Dangda, who missed out on Thailand’s ASEAN Football Federation Championship campaign last month, was named captain by coach Milovan Rajevac for the continental championship in the United Arab Emirates.
The 30-year-old striker, who is the only surviving member from Thailand’s last Asian Cup appearance in 2007, has scored 42 goals in 95 appearances, while fullback Bunmathan and midfielder Songkrasin allow them to be more adventurous going forward.
“It is good to have them back in the squad. We are stronger with them in the team,” Kerdkaew was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.
“However, this means that we have to make certain adjustments to our tactics and we are getting used to the changes.
“The good thing is that the weather here isn’t much different from Thailand so we have adjusted well to the conditions here.”
Thailand face India in their Group A opener on Sunday before facing Bahrain and hosts UAE.
Despite their underdogs status, Thailand are targeting a first appearance in the knockout stage since 1972 when they finished third on home soil.
“I agree that all the teams that have qualified for the finals are strong, but we aren’t afraid of anyone,” Kerdkaew added.
“Of course, we should study our opponents’ style but at the same time we should ensure that we that we prepare well for every match. It’ll make things a lot easier for everyone.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury