Thailand on Thursday began their preparation for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers with players reporting to the training camp.
The War Elephants will host China on Nov 16 and visit Singapore on Nov 21 in their first two games of Asia’s second qualifying round for the 2026 World Cup.
Hot favourites South Korea are the other team in Group C. The top two teams in each of the nine groups advance to the next round.
Seventeen of 26 players called up by coach Mano Polking joined the training camp at Novotel Bangkok Future Park Rangsit in Pathum Thani.
They included Chanathip Songkrasin, Teerasil Dangda, Sarach Yooyen and Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul of BG Pathum United, who lost 4-2 to Kawasaki Frontale in the AFC Champions League in Japan on Tuesday.
Buriram United players Theerathon Bunmathan, Pansa Hemviboon and Supachai Chaided will join the team later after they helped the Thunder Castle win 1-0 at Melbourne City in the ACL.
Bangkok United star Rungrath Poomchanthuek has withdrawn from the squad due to injury and was replaced by Chonburi’s Channarong Promsrikaew.
Channarong and his Chonburi teammate Kritsada Kaman are expected to join the team tomorrow after playing against Sukhothai in Thai League 1 on Friday.
Coach Polking will trim the squad to 23 players before the China game.
Captain Chanathip did not play for the country in this year’s King Cup’s tournament on home soil and also in the recent warm-up matches in Europe.
The playmaker said on Thursdayhis confidence has been boosted by his two goals against Kawasaki.
“I am ready [for the World Cup qualifiers] and I don’t have any injury. I want to help Thailand win,” said Chanathip.
“We have to beat both China and Singapore. China are strong but we don’t have to fear them. Singapore are a quality team with players like [brothers] Iksan and Irfan Fandi who play for BG. We can’t underestimate them and will try to beat them.”