Women Futsal in Thailand just at a beginning stage

Off the pitch - Report

Apart Thailands women national football team, women football itself gains nearly no attention in Thailand. The same goes on for the womens national Futsal league. During the last weekend we took the chance to pay a visit and by chance we got an interview with the manager of the league and it's promoter.

Arriving at the venue, we found it nearly empty. The audience mainly was made out of friends and acquaintances from the players. Quite sad if you consider that nearly the whole national side is build up from players of the two top-teams. The ladies recently did well during the first inofficial worldcup, held in Spain back in December.

Ahead of our visit, It was very difficult for us to find out where the matches will be played. Information about the league we found in the Internet were out of date. Fortunately the freshly printed Siam Keela was a help for us, and at least we could see that the second leg of the season already started. According to some pictures we spotted the North Bangkok College as venue. However, we were wrong and got informed that we will have to head to Rattana Bundit.

Arriving at the hall, the third match of the day was just to be kicked off. North Bangkok College vs BG-Bundit Asia. Latter leading the table. The game play from North Bangkok College looked more like indoor soccer than Futsal. But most of the girls use to play football and just since recently they started to play Futsal. BG-Bundit Asia looks the better side, which makes no wonder as most of the players are national team players. And the club won the championship in 2006 and 2007, until they moved to Bangkok. The final result of the match is 9-0 for BG-Bundit Asia.

The next match offered us 2nd against 4th of the table, RBAC v Nakhon Ratchasima. RBAC had two complete line-ups for substitution, while Korat only had two players. However, Korat fought with brave and just lost by 2-7.

As mentioned earlier, besides the matches we got the chance to interview the manager of the league and it's promoter. Both are a couple and married. Tiranan Ujjin is the manager of the league, while her husband Thanapat is acting as promoter of the league with his company United Sport.
The last time a National women-futsal league took place was in 2007. Since 2010 we see the league back in action. Why was the break and what happened in the meantime?
T. & T. Ujjin: Over the past years, nobody seriously had any interest in a league competition. The main reason why we see the league back is because of the National team. The competition should help to develop the national side. The national team recently participated a worldcup tournament in Spain.
T. & T. Ujjin: It was a very good experience for our team. Especially the defeat against Brazil. (Thailand lost by 0-14, red.). It was really impressive to see how the Brazilians played, passing the ball around, 100% effort all the time and they knew how to move around the parquet. Someday we will be able to face them on the same level. We are very sure about that.

Tiranan und Thanapat Ujjin From the TV I could see that both teams, Man and Womens, are coached by Jose Maria Mendez also called Pulpis.
T. & T. Ujjin: Yes that's true, but that was a one time thing just because of the tournament in Spain. However, we would like to have a coach dedicated only to the Women team. Pulpis was a big help for us. Before we started the season he held a three day coaching clinic for all team coaches. He was teaching about on how to train and provided technical and tactical hints. That's really important because most of the teams coaches and players have their roots in football. What are the daily job of the players? Most probably they are not able to live from Futsal.
T. & T. Ujjin: Most of them are students, and a few have a regular job. To find information about Women football in the Thai Media is a though thing, they more to find any information about Women-Futsal. I even didn't know that the second half of the season already started. Thaileagueonline and liga-futsal for example still list the table from the end of the first half only.
T. & T. Ujjin: Oh, really? We didn't knew that. Usually we have a good cooperation with Siam Sport, with whom we are work together. On the other hand, our budget is limited. For the future we have plans to open up a Facebook page and an own Website for the women league.
All those things and how to run a league are new to us. But we confident to be more professional next season. As we are talking about the money. What about the prize money?
T. & T. Ujjin: The league champion will receive 500.000 Baht, runners-up 300.000 Baht and the third placed team 200.000 Baht. The money is provided by the government. Furthermore through our marketing company United Sports each team receive 100.000 Baht for being able to participate in the competition. Which team for you is the favorite to win the title?
T. & T. Ujjin: BG-Bundit Asia. Is there any world ranking list in Women-Futsal?
T. & T. Ujjin:
As far as we know there is none. But in Asia we are the second best nation behind Japan. Thailand would have been able to win 2009 Asian Indoor Games, but we had to clash with Japan in the semis (Thailand lost by 2-5, red). Our Girls were just to much afraid of the Japanese. We lacked of confidence. What about young talents? Are their any youth teams?
T. & T. Ujjin: No, not yet. It needs time to develop. The youngest playing in the league is 17 years of age. However we are targeting the schools and try to convince them to establish youth teams in Futsal. For sure, we do need more players in the future. Each province has a team, but they are lacking of competitions. It's all a matter of time. Many thanks for the interview.

author and interview by esgede
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