Bangkok: Suthiporn Kladcharoen believes Thailand can mount a serious title challenge in the AFC Futsal Championship Turkmenistan 2020 in November.
The tournament will also serve as the final stage of FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifying, with the top five sides to represent Asia at Lithuania 2021.
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Thailand are eager to forget their heartbreak of 2008 and 2012 – where they finished runners-up behind Islamic Republic of Iran and Japan respectively.
For Turkmenistan 2020, the Southeast Asian powerhouse are in Group D alongside defending champions Iran, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia and Kladcharoen believes it is Thailand’s time to shine.
“I think the Thai national team is going to give more than a 100 per cent in this tournament,” said Kladcharoen in an exclusive interview with the-AFC.com.
“Thailand have never won this tournament and that’s the reason for us to do our best to achieve that goal. We are also super enthusiastic to be able to compete for a World Cup qualifying spot.”
Kladcharoen burst onto the scene at district level in secondary school before joining Nonthaburi FC where he spent his formative years.
The 29-year-old also had stints at Bluewave Chonburi, Phuket FC, Highway Futsal and in January he signed for defending Futsal Thai League champions Port FC – joining national team regulars Pornmongkol Srisubseang and Kanison Phoopan.
“Playing for the national team is the highest honour for me and I believe that with diligence and a right attitude, good results will follow.
“I started playing futsal at a very young age and later competed in district level tournaments. Since then I fell in love with the sport and Nonthaburi FC was where it all started for me.”
Kladcharoen made his international debut in the 2018 AFF Futsal Championship, contributing three goals as Thailand clinched their 14th overall and seventh consecutive title in Indonesia.
Two years later, Kladcharoen is relishing the opportunity to play in his first AFC tournament.
“I have nothing but fond memories of the 2018 AFF Futsal Championship in Indonesia as I was part of the team that won the title.
“As a player, it was my proudest achievement to date and I also gained valuable experience. So I think I’m ready for my next challenge.
“I’m always looking for ways to improve myself by adding extra training sessions to develop my skills or by learning from my teammates – either at the club or in the national team.”
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