With keen competition expected for this year’s AFF Futsal Cup 2022, homesters Hongyen Thakam will have to adapt to the burden of having to live up to the record set by previous Thai clubs.
The AFF Futsal Cup was incepted in 2015 and since then, clubs from Thailand have won all titles in the seven competitions that were played.
Port FC were winners in 2015, 2016, and 2017 while BTS FC took it in 2018 as Bluewave Chonburi romped to the double in 2019 and 2021.
And this year Hongyen Thakam – the Futsal Thai League runners-up last season – will be under pressure as they square up against Brunei DS champions Perwira FC, Down Town Sport as the Cambodian winners and Bintang Timur Surabaya, the newly crowned champions of Indonesia in Group A.
“We are expected to win this tournament and to keep up the tradition of the Thai clubs. For many of the players, this will be the first time that they are playing in an international tournament. We are prepared but there will be some tough matches ahead for sure.” – Hongyen Thakam head coach Thanatorn Santanaprasit
“We are confident that we can do well here as we have been training since last year. This team has done well by winning the League and then the Cup. And while this is the first time for many of the players to take part in an international competition, I feel confident.” – Perwira head coach Abdul Hapiz Untong
“We took part previously in 2019 and we did quite well then. For us, we had just completed the league and I believe that the players are at a good level where we had about two months of preparation. So I expect us to be competitive for this year’s tournament as well.” – Down Town Sport Team Manager Hol Sopheak
“All four teams in this group have a good squad of players. It is also the first time that we are taking part in an international competition and I believe that we are very well prepared as we had just completed the season by denying former winners Black Steel. So we are confident.” – Bintang Timur Surabaya head coach Hector Souto
While the keywords in Group A are pressure and expectations, for Group B on the other hand, having just three teams competing for just two available slots in the semifinals meant that flexibility and adaptability will be paramount.
The teams that can adjust and be flexible to the changing conditions will certainly have the upper hand for the two places into the next round.
“We are up against difficult teams with better quality players and tactical abilities. We had a month to prepare the team but we are still concerned about the players’ mentality and their ability to adapt. It is our first time taking part so for us, it will have to be fight and fight more than anything else.” – Ramelau FC head coach Nelcen Escurial
“Our players lack international experience but we are working hard on implementing the right tactics in this group which has only three teams. While adaptability will be key in the group, I believe that we can spring a surprise in this tournament.” – Sahako FC head coach Nguyen Tuan Anh
“It is a difficult tournament but I think that Futsal is being played at a good level here. It is an important venue for the continued development of Futsal in the region. For us, it is important that we play Futsal at the right level, ability to change formation, to compete and follow the process.” – Selangor MAC head coach Carlos Alberto Lima
AFF FUTSAL CUP 2022
4 Sept 2022 – All Matches at Terminal 21
1200hrs: Sahako FC vs Ramelau FC
1430hrs: Down Town Sport vs BTS FC
1700hrs: Hongyen Thakam vs Perwira