By: Lee Jinjia
Having won Gold at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games and reaching the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Thai national football team was going into the competition with high expectations.
Speaking to Atipol Suwandee, the assistant manager of the Thai national football team, he rightly points out that expectations are sky high and winning gold is the sole objective of the team at the 2016 ASEAN University Games (AUG).
Despite recognizing that much of the focus and pressure is placed on the player’s shoulders, he asserts that the success of the team is dependent on every single individual and that includes the supporters.
â€śThere are many factors to winning a game and the supporters are a significant factor as they play a big role to boost the morale of the players, and make them feel at home in a foreign country,â€ť said Suwandee.
This is evident from the rapturous cheers emanating from the Thai crowd even when their team was trailing against their respective group stage opponents.
Asking him about his role in the team, he modestly states that he carries out most of the administrative functions of the team at the tournament.
â€śI do everything from arranging for their trainings, transport and accommodations. You name it I do it all,â€ť says Suwandee sheepishly.
What is apparent from his humble demeanor is his unwavering commitment and passion towards providing the best possible environment for the players to thrive in.
As an old saying goes, the strength of a team is equivalent to the sum of its parts. With that, the players know that they have their teammates, coaches, family and countrymen to drive them along the way to achieving their goal of success at the games.