New life for Thai Football - Cheerthai and its ten-year plan

Thai Association News Pinit Ngarmpring

Pinit Ngarmpring

The 2012 Suzuki Cup is just a few days old, yet coming events cast their shadows. The King's Cup in January, the first round of the Asian Cup qualification, and not least the Thai FA's presidential election in spring 2013.

Under the slogan "New Life - Thai Football" a press conference took place on Christmas eve in Bangkok on which a ten-year plan for the development of football in Thailand was revealed. But the event was not organised by the football association of the country or the league as one could suppose. On the contrary, it was arranged by the biggest group of Thai football supporters in the country, calling themselves "Cheerthai Power".

Founded in 2000 with the central theme: ''Foreign football is just for fun but Thai football is in the blood.'' - the group drew attention for the first time during the return leg of the AFC Champions League Final between BEC Tero Sasana and Al Ain when calling for resignation of FAT president Vijitr Getkaew. This was in 2003. However, not much has changed since, one refrains of the fact that the FA in 2009 has turned its league into a professional league under the pressure from the AFC.

On side of the FA, there is still no concept existing to develop football in the country. Instead one relies on the chance, players like Teerasil Dangda or Kawin Thamasatchanan making their way. But than again, of course, all conceivable titles should be bagged in without investing any Baht (apart from any bonus for the national team players). Although, under such circumstances, winning a title or trophy would be very effective, it would not help in the long run. Particularly as Thailand is not detached from the rest of the footballing world. Taken aside global developments in top-level football, especially nations from the region slowly awake as one could just see during the recent AFF Suzuki Cup.

At it, the Thai FA apparently even fails on the easy things; like the introduction of a reserve league or the continuation of the women's league. Or one simply put everything on the shelf: "We don't have money for it" is the excuse you mostly got to hear. But where it should come from if the TPL Ltd. is made of six stakeholder all sitting in the FAT board of directors the same time? Hence the federation and especially his president Worawi Makudi over and over again face allegations of non-transparency. In spite of all accusations the bustling FIFA executive committee member could save his neck, most likely because of getting backed from above. From FIFA and the political part of Thailand.

As an example of his plenitude of power you only need to take a look at the Thai FA election two years ago. He called the election off without further ado when he noted his re-election could be in danger. Since than, and not only since than, he faces strong opposing wind on the part of the supporters who have organised protests against him by the end of 2010 - beginning 2011. As a result, at some venues "security people" appeared, seizing banners and posters and fans were threatened . After this the wave of protest ebbed away in public.

Now there is the 10-year plan, a 57-sided programme with which the founder of the "Cheerthai Power Group", Pinit Ngarmpring, wants to stand against Worawi Makudi in next years FAT election. The key points are an improved management and transparency at federation level, technical development in concerns to the players, as well as making the national side competitive by using FIFA matchdays for friendlies. But also by developing infrastructures as well as carrying out marketing measures to make the sport even more popular. The final goal is to establish Thailand within the top-five nations in Asia by 2022/23.

The three phaes of the programme

Khun Pinit

Khun Pinit explains his programme

The plan is divided into three phases with four strategies (Transparency, Technical Development, Competition Quality, Marketing and Public Trust). Its first phase, from 2012-2014 (Restoring the trust), is signed as a recovery of the publics faith in the FA and the national team. Transparency should be created, e.g. by unfold the finances. In the course of this period, people with character and professional competency should be identified throughout the country and hired to lay a foundation for further development. Furthermore the national team, above all, should win back all his supremacy in South-East Asia in this time. FIFA days are planned to be used for ties against teams like Iran, Iraq, China or Uzbekistan.

The second phase goes from 2015-2017 (Building Nationwide goodwill). Its attention is towards a Thailand-wide build-up of structures in all areas, starting from youth development, to referee's education, up to stadium constructions with the help of public sponsorship. Besides, a wide network among the fans should be established. The main target of this phase for the national side is to be able to compete at eye level against Asian teams like Iran and Iraq or countries like Turkey and Nigeria. In addition, friendlies against teams like Russia, the USA or Mexico are targeted.

The third and final one encloses the years from 2018-2022 (Boosting and Sustaining). It contains the continuation and further extension of the erected structures. Then the national team should be able to keep pace with the top teams of Asia and should play friendlies against Germany, Spain, Argentina, or Brazil on FIFA matchdays.

Other topics which can be found in the paper: a Hall of Fame in cooperation with the "Football History Association of Thailand", a close collaboration with and with the media of every shade, a superstar development programme for specially gifted players, grass root work in the area of youngsters of 6-12 years, Thai Premier League clubs running academies for age groups of 13-16 and 17-22 years old.

The objectives of the paper at some places may sound a little bit illusive, but, at least the targets are underpinned with ideas which are within the bounds of possibility. FA boss Worawi, up to now have let us know only when we will see Thailand in a Asian Cup Final, a Champions League final, when one goes to Olympia, or when we finally are able to cheer Thailand at World Cup stage without to mention how he want to achieve such daydreaming.

Pinit Ngarmpring's programme and plan to run against Worawi is very honourable though. It might even be without equal nowadays in the world of football. A Supporter, a fan, who stands for the presidency election of his football federation and holding a well worked paper in his hand where everybody interested in can see a guidance and strategy. However, in respect of the international (political) parquet of FIFA and the AFC - with his power games and intrigues, its corruption and all its functionaries - an experienced seafaring man able to cope with, backing Khun Pinit's ideas the same time but running instead of him, presumably would be the better option.

If you want to support the group around Khun Pinit, and if you want to keep up to date, you can follow and Like on Facebook. The 57-side programme, in Thai, can be downloaded as PDF (opens in new window. Size 1.5 mb). And a clip of the press conference with our questions to Pinit Ngarmpring can be watched on our You Tube Channel.
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