Second AFF title for Thailands women

Thai women's national team  AFF Medal 2015

2015 AFF winners medal
image: © Nguyễn Minh Khang

Things always seem to happen when you least expect them. And so with a 3-2 win over Myanmar Thailand's women's national team could lift the AFF Championship trophy again after a four years break.

The AFF Women's Championship 2015 was just planned as a stage on Thailand's Road to Canada. But the plan to gain match practice, advance to the semi-finals and off back home with no player injured surpisingly resulted in the title. The tournament could not have start worse for Thailand being beaten by Australia's "Young Matildas" 3-0. Not that a defeat against the ladies from Down Under was not expected or taken into account. But looking back at the game one is still rubbing his eyes in disbelieve on how theThais could lose this one. Thailand was the better side for most of the game and showed its best performance of the tournament. Especially during the first half. But lack of concentration, individual mistakes and good football for about 30 minutes in the second half, have came Thailand costly.

The following two meetings against Indonesia (10-1) and Laos (12-1) where the expected shout outs for the Thais. Especially two players have left their goal scoring marks in the game. Alisa Rukpinij who scored five goals against Laos and Miss Hat-trick: Nisa Romyen. The 25-year-old striker scored three in every of the two encounters and she finished the tournament as leading goal scorer with a total of nine goals. According to our own database she has now scored more than 40 goals over the last five years.

Nevertheless, the best was yet to come from Romyen with great strikes in the semi-final against Vietnam and the final against Myanmar. Double-marked by the Vietnamese on each of her two goals against the host was no hurdle for her and showed in what superb form she is at the moment. But credit needs to go Warunee Phetwiset for her assist which led to the equalizer against Vietnam and to goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing as well with her long ball which reached Romyen right at the beginning of extra time. Generally Phetwiset seems to be one of the most underestimated player in the team of coach Sathongwien. Brilliant on going forward and her passing game are marked by precision and creativity.

Sritala, Khueanpet, Boothduang

Sritala, Khueanpet, Boothduang
image: © Nguyễn Minh Khang

In the final against Myanmar Romyen scored with a towering header to give Thailand the 2-1 lead (65') and put her team on the winning ways. Only five minutes later Rattikan Thongsombut provided for the 3-1. Benefited by a mistake of goalkeeper Boonsing with light and shade in her performances always seem to alternate, Myanmar could draw on back but did not helped much. All in all, Thailand had the game pretty much in control and won its second AFF Championship trophy after 2011.

From all 23 players, everybody got a chance to play. But Irravadee Makris had the bad luck to get a run out only in the game against Australia's under-20. A game which is not recognised by FIFA.

Winning the AFF Championship just ahead of the Women's World Cup is certainly a moral boost in general for the Thai ladies and in their own strengths particularly. Although one might not be able to show its own strengths against Germany and Norway, because we can expect the two to dominate the Thais in all aspects.

Talking of the Wold Cup, Thailand's final squad is still not officially announced yet and when it will happen is still unknown as we have been told by an inside source recently. Indeed, the 23 player squad (including three goalkeepers) should be more or less the same we have seen during the AFF Championship. One or two players may be dropped and be replaced. Possibly with, and this is only a guessing of us, Sukanya Choir. Charoenying (GK) and Thanattha Chawong.

Charoenying already returned from Sweden couple of weeks ago and joined the camp but was not part of the AFF squad. The experianced Chawong returned early last week from Sweden after she made five appearances (one goal) for Elitettan side Östersunds DFF in 2015.

With lifting the AFF women's trophy for a second time, it is the first time since the introduction of under-23 teams for the men's tournament at the SEA Games, that Thailand holds all four major titles of the region. SEA Games Gold for both in 2013, the AFF Cup for the men last December, and now the women. Because there will be no tournament for the women this year with the SEA-Games, it is on Thailand men's team to maintain the status.
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