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Muang Thong: fundament for a bright future?

Thai Premier League
Over the last weeks, Muang Thong throw the points for what the club hopes, could led them to a glory future. With SCG a new sponsor contract was signed and with the Serbian Slaviša Jokanović a new head coach have been appointed.

Probably a lot of activity must was going on at Muang Thong recently. At first a partnership with SCG was sealed in a press conference on 16 February, and on Monday of this week Slaviša Jokanović has been introduced as successor to Robbie Fowler. The Englishman had left the TPL club in January. Milan Josic, assistant coach, took over interim, just to jump ships short time later and sign with Phuket FC.

Already in the year before, preparation for the new season ran anything but optimally. Carlos de Carvalho followed on sacked René Desaeyere in January 2011, just to get replaced by Henrique Calisto in February. Now and this year it is on Slaviša Jokanović to wield the scepter and prepare the team for a new season. He immediately started his charge this Monday right after a press conference when he led a first training session. The Serbian landed on Sunday morning in Bangkok and went straight on to contract negotiations. Beside Jokanović, Bruno Metsu (Al-Gharafa) and Dragan Talajić (Kuwait SC) have been in the rumor mill to become MTU's new head coach.

The "new" man on Thailand's hottest seat is just 43 years old. Among the rest, during his active career he played for Chelsea London, La Coruna and not least Tenerife. There he played two years under German Jupp Heynckes, currently coaching Bayern Munich. From 2007 to 2009 Partizan Belgrade have been his first and last station as coach. In two consecutive years he lead the "black-and-white" to a back-to-back double, winning domestic cup and league competition. In September, 2009 he left the office, after he could not guide his eleven to Champions League group stage.

Closely related with the precipitous promotion Muang Thong took during the last years are Yamaha. The Japanese manufacturer was already a premium sponsor of the club when the side still played football in Thailand's second division. However, since 16 February this is now officially a part of the clubs history. Because Thai cement manufacturer SCG (Siam Cement Group), owning brands like idea, Cotto or Home Mart is going to take over this role for the coming five years. Not only this. For the proud sum of 600 million Baht, SCG not only secured itself a 30 percent stake in the club, but also the name rights in the stadium and a place in the club name.

Naturally Muang Thong is still in the hand of Siam Sport. However, only the sales of Robert Procureur's stake, made a 30 percent share for SCG possible. But the Belgian was the main force behind the Cinderella story of "Muang Thong". Under his management the club moved from a third division side to a two time domestic champion. RP now just has left the club looking for new challenges with league rival BEC-Tero Sasana in a function as sport director.

With the SCG deal, the champion of 2009 and 2010, once more has expressed his desire to become one top address in Asia. One heard almost the same words, nevertheless, at the beginning of last year, after the dismissal of Desaeyere, with the signing of Calisto and Fowler (as  players coach). For the rest, Buriram United pursues similar targets, with Attaphol Buspakom in charge. He is Thailand's most successful coach of the last ten years. He was sacked by Muang Thong in 2009 after winning the first TPL trophy for the club as one strove for higher. An irony of fate?

Muang Thong: fundament for a bright future?

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