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Masatada Ishii: Steering Thai Football into a New Era

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Masatada Ishii: Steering Thai Football into a New Era

The Thai national football team has recently appointed Masatada Ishii as its new head coach. Ishii, a former manager of J-League’s Kashima Antlers and Omiya Ardija, is known for his successful tenure in Japanese football.

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Masatada Ishii led Kashima Antlers to the J-League first-division and Emperor’s Cup titles in 2016. His experience includes coaching roles in Thai football, notably with Samut Prakan City and Buriram United.

This coaching change comes after Thailand parted ways with the previous head coach, Alexandre Polking, following a mixed start to their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign. The decision was made despite a recent 3-1 victory over Singapore, as the team had suffered a 2-1 defeat to China the previous week. Polking reportedly returns to Ho Chi Minh City FC, where he coached in the 2020-2021 season.

The appointment of Masatada Ishii marks a significant moment for Thai football, reflecting the country’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its international presence in the sport.

Ishii’s first match as the national team’s head coach will be a friendly against Japan’s national football team on January 1, 2024, in Tokyo, which is anticipated to be a pivotal moment for assessing the new direction under his leadership

Thailand’s Crucial Upcoming Fixtures

Thailand has a series of important matches lined up in the coming months as they continue their 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign. On January 1st, they will face a tough friendly test against Japan in Tokyo. This will provide an important assessment of the team’s progress under new coach Masatada Ishii.

Thailand then resumes Asian Cup qualifying with matches against Kyrgyz Republic, Oman, and Saudi Arabia between January 16-25th. Securing advancement to the Asian Cup will be the primary focus.

With the World Cup and Asian Cup on the horizon, Thailand has the chance to measure itself against elite competition. The upcoming matches will test the team’s quality and consistency under Ishii’s leadership

Thailand’s Squad Reshuffle: Ishii’s Strategy for Japan-Friendly

Thailand’s national football team coach, Masatada Ishii, has made adjustments to his squad for the upcoming friendly against Japan. Midfielder Worachit Kanitsribumphen has been called up to replace Suphanat Mueanta.

This change was necessitated by Suphanat’s Belgian club, OH Leuven, wanting their players to integrate with their new coach, Oscar Garcia. Ishii expressed understanding of the situation, noting his familiarity with Suphanat from their time at Buriram United. He plans to include Suphanat in the Asian Cup roster. The Thailand-Japan match, set for January 1, will also see Thailand without injured players Chanathip Songkrasin and Pansa Hemviboon.

Thai football fans are eager to see how the reshuffled squad performs under Ishii’s leadership.

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Ishii’s refreshed lineup provides the first indication of his tactical approach for the national team. The Japan friendly represents a valuable opportunity to build team chemistry and momentum before the Asian Cup campaign begins. For Thai fans, it will be an early glimpse into whether Ishii can guide the squad to success in his first major tournament in charge.

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