BANGKOK – Thailands Football Association has parted company with National Coach Winfried Schaefer, FAT president Worawi Makudi confirmed the move yesterday.
The 63-year-old German’s future has been the subject of intense media speculation for months, with the Thai side suffering an extended slump in form since failing to reclaim the title in the Asean Championship in December, going down to a 3-2 aggregate loss to Singapore in the final.
“We should not use the word ‘sack’ – we have parted company amicably,” Worawi said.
“It is normal in football that you have both success and failure.”
German Schaefer, 63, arrived in Thailand in 2011. While the former Cameroon coach achieved little success with the Kingdom, he often criticised the FAT for lack of professionalism.
SEA Games team coach Kiatisak ‘Zico’ Senamuang will be in charge of the full national team until a permanent coach is appointed.
Kiatisak will coach the Thai team in warm-up matches in China next month and against Myanmar on a yet-to-be-determined date, as well as friendlies against Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, Worawi insisted that an election for FAT president will only be held after Fifa’s new charter is ratified.
An election of chief of the football association of a member country must be organised in accordance with Fifa’s new statutes, said Worawi, who is also a Fifa executive member.
“If we don’t do according to Fifa’s new regulations, Thailand will be banned from Fifa activities,” Worawi said.
Fifa’s new charter is expected to be approved by member countries at its general meeting on May 31. After the new charter takes effect, each member country must separately ratify it.
“A election for FAT president will be held within 55 days of the FAT ratifying the charter,” Worawi said.
The election was initially set for June 15. Several critics have called on Worawi to stick to the original schedule and use the current rules for the election.
Among the critics are Senator Naruemon Siriwat and Thai Olympic committee secretary-general Charouck Ariratchakaran.
Naruemon, deputy chief of the Senate committee on sports, said on Thursday that her panel would look into the matter.
But Worawi hit back yesterday saying the country would be in trouble if it did not act in accordance with Fifa’s rules.
“Why we have to use the old rules?” he said.
Worawi is expected to face a tough challenge from former national team manager Virach Chanpanich, who is reportedly backed by Thai Premier League giants Buriram United and Chonburi.
Football fan Pinit Ngampring is another candidate in the election.