Wednesday, August 31, 2011
ESPNsoccernet: September 4, 4:45 PM UK
Thai players offered big bonus
By Ron Corben
Thailand will be playing for more than a place in the 2014 Football World Cup when they take on Australia on Friday, with bonuses of more than AU$64,000 on offer for a win.The Football Association of Thailand offered the bonuses with the squad of 23 players in Brisbane for Friday's game feeling optimistic under new coach, former German player Winfried Schafer, despite their underdog status.Thai Football Association president Worawi Makudi said despite the challenges of having a physically and technically inferior side to the Australians, he remained upbeat."We are optimistic but I mean we are a little bit behind the Australian standard," Worawi told AAP before the team's departure. "Of course we are the underdogs as we are. But we will try our best to provide a good fight in this match with Australia."The FA has offered bonuses of two million baht ($A64,500) for a win over the Socceroos and one million baht ($A32,000) for a draw.Worawi said preparations for the game had been positive under new coach Schafer, who has signed a three-year contract to oversee the Thai national team."I think I'm optimistic for his performance and I do trust him to do something for our team," he said of the new coach.In the team's first games under Schafer, Thailand defeated Palestine 3-2 on aggregate in July to move to the third round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Before heading to Thailand, Schafer's recent coaching successes included Cameroon's victory in the African Nations Cup in 2002 and a league title for Al-Ahli in the United Arab Emirates.The Socceroos' return match against Thailand is scheduled for November 15 in Bangkok. Australia are also due to play Saudi Arabia on September 6 at the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium, Dammam.