Thailand began their training for World Cup qualification yesterday and officials are confident the kingdom will get a point in their opener against Japan in Tokyo next month. The team started their preparations at Rajamangala National Stadium and will fly to England later this week to train with Manchester City for two weeks.
The trip is sponsored by Thaicom Foundation, which is owned by Thaksin Shinawatra.
Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), said the training will help the national side prepare for the group phrase of Asia's qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
Thailand are grouped with Japan, Oman and Bahrain with the top two teams in each of the five groups advancing to Asia's final qualifying stage.
The Thais will begin their campaign against Japan in Tokyo on February 6 and Worawi believes his men are good enough to return home with a point.
''We hope the training in Manchester will be useful,'' he said. ''Playing Japan first is tough so we must be well-prepared.''
Thailand coach Chanvit Phalajivin said training in England would give his players the chance to see what professional players do.
Also, Worawi said Suree Sukha, Teerasil Dangda and Kiatprawut Saiwaew's contracts at Man City began on January 1.
Only Suree could get a work permit while the other two are likely be loaned to Swiss clubs, he said.
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