Thailand sack coach Milovan Rajevac after humbling at hands of India

Milovan Rajevac was given just one match at the Asian Cup before he got the axe. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019

Thailand sack coach Milovan Rajevac after humbling at hands of India

  • Coach given marching orders after just one match in the UAE.
  • Thailand were favorites to beat India in their Group A clash.

ABU DHABI: Thailand have fired coach Milovan Rajevac following the side’s humiliating 4-1 thrashing by India in their opening Asian Cup game on Sunday.
The 65-year-old Serb, who took charge of Thailand in 2017, paid the price after the War Elephants conceded three second-half goals to slump to a shock defeat in Abu Dhabi.
Thai football chiefs took a dim view of their Group A flop and acted swiftly to remove Rajevac the morning after.
“The result is not what is expected of the Thai national team and that our supporters deserve,” Thailand’s FA president Somyot Poompanmoung said.
“Like all Thai football fans across the country, I am also disappointed with the result. But as president of the football association, I cannot stand still with this problem.”
Former assistant coach Sirisak Yodyardthai will assume control of the team when they face Bahrain and hosts UAE in their remaining Group A matches.
Rajevac, who has had spells in charge of Algeria and Qatar, famously steered Ghana to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup where they were beaten on penalties by Uruguay.
But he was left shell-shocked by Thailand’s horror show against underdogs India, whose veteran striker Sunil Chhetri scored twice, overtaking Lionel Messi’s 65 international goals in the process.
Lamenting his side’s abject display, Rajevac admitted that India were worthy winners.
“They were phenomenal — they ran more, were more aggressive and wanted it more,” he said.
“They absolutely deserved to win. But we underperformed, especially in the second half.”
Rajevic has been criticized for his defensive style but the Serb clearly felt otherwise after watching Thailand over-run by a hungry India side.
“It’s not always about technical ability and skill on the ball,” he said. “We lacked power, strength and aggression. We need to put more pressure on the ball and show more passion.”
Thailand, appearing for the first time since co-hosting the Asian Cup in 2007, have now won just one of 21 games at the continent’s showcase competition.
India find themselves as unlikely leaders of Group A thanks to their first Asian Cup win in 55 years.
The Emiratis were held 1-1 by Bahrain in Saturday’s curtain-raiser.


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

Updated 14 November 2019

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

  • Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh
  • The crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has ordered four planes to transport Al-Hilal fans to Japan to support the club in their AFC Champions League final second leg match against the Urawa Red Diamonds.

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. The return leg is in Saitama, near Tokyo on Nov. 24.

The Saudi Press Agency said the crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship and to boost the morale of the team to seal the title.

The Saudi General Sport Authority have begun to coordinate with Al-Hilal’s administration to arrange for transporting fans to Japan.