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Sports Notes - BRAZIL TAKE FIFA's TOP HONOR - RONALDINHO FIFA'S # 1 - FIFA Top 10 - THAILAND Coach Held... Held - December 2004

Ronaldinho with a promoter that brought Brazil to Thailand - (NR - James Loving photo)


James Loving - National Radio Text Service


Brazil FIFA's Top Team Of Year - Brazil's Ronaldinho FIFA's # 1 World Player - FIFA TOP 10 - Withe's Indonesia Tops In Tiger Cup & Move On To Semifinal - Thailand Fails To Survive 1st Round 1st Time In Tiger Cup History... Thai Coach Held Called On Carpet & Held... - Cambodia Winless In Tiger Cup Top Scorer Sochetra Left Off Squad


Sunday December 26, 2004


Brazil was big a big winner in the FIFA Awards by taking the Team Of The Year honors and Ronaldinho took the Player Of The Year title. The event was held at the Opera House in Zurich, Switzerland.

Brazil have been selected the top team for the past three years with France finishing second. A Brazilian player has been selected Player Of The Year three of the past six selections. Previous winners were Rivaldo, 1999 and Ronaldo 2002.

A poll of national soccer associations decides the winner. Ronaldinho received 620 votes and France's Thierry Henry finished second with 253. It was the second consecutive year Henry finished second. Zinedine Zidane won last year.


Thailand's football fortunes appeared to be the makings of a silk purse after a 1998 Asian Games victory over South Korea. Those silk purse fortunes now seem to be turning into a sow's ear.

Thailand's glory days now look as if to be over as they failed for the first time in Tiger Cup history to reach the semifinal round. The result canceled any chance of former Thai coach Peter Withe who was dismissed in September 2003, to face his former squad with his new Indonesia charges that finished top of the table in Group A.

After the Tiger Cup results Thailand lost 5-1 in a friendly to Germany's national side. The game came about as a result of Thailand's voting for Germany in the World Cup ballot vote.

Germany rested three of its top players Michael Ballack, Oliver Kahn and Miroslav Klose for the Thailand contest.

After that match the bloom then fell off Thailand's rose as a FAT (Football Association of Thailand) meeting was called.

The Bangkok Post reported that during the five-hour session it was decided that coach Siegfried Held would coach through to the SEA Games that is ten months away. The details of Held's future will be decided at a forthcoming meeting. He is currently on a yearly contract that is up for renewal in April.

Held's discipline of the players has come under criticism. It was reported that team manager Wimol Kanjana said Held had a dictatorial approach and the players didn't like it.

When the Post contacted Held regarding the team manager's remarks he refused to comment until he heard it directly from Kanjana.

Withe had a similar experience when one of his assistant coaches Chatchai Paholpaet quit as assistant coach without telling him and went to the press expressing his displeasure with Withe.

Paholpaet later became Thailand's third coach in a year (including Withe) after he replaced the second coach Carlos Roberto Carvalho.

Held, former German national player pointed out that Thailand is a young squad and that many of his current players lack experience. He noted after the loss to Germany that Thailand is a young team with only two players over 23 and that some have never played outside of Thailand.

Now its decision making time for Held and the FAT. After his first official match in charge, a Thai World Cup qualifier victory over the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Bangkok Post reported that the FAT was expected to extend Held's contract for two years. That didn't happen.




Peter Withe after coaching Thailand's win over Arsenal. - (NR photo)

Carlos Roberto Carvalho - (NR photo)

Chatchai Paholpaet

Thailand's Happy Days... veteran players celebrate after 1998 Asian Games victory over South Korea.

Hok Sochetra - (AFC photo)



Based on the recent form the side has yet to gel. But… can you blame the players?

Three coaching changes since Withe's departure compounds the problem. That alone is enough to stifle the progress of any side. How long does it take for a team to adjust to the personality and playing system of a new coach?

This Thailand team lacks a team personality, style, unity, enthusiasm and most of all big game experience.

Can you train experience or do you have to live it? This squad may never live it.

The players lack the skill of the older and now former national team members that have refused to play for their country after being criticized by Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra after a World Cup Qualifying loss to North Vietnam..

Thailand has dropped nineteen positions in the FIFA ratings to 79th since their ranking of 60 only one year ago. They remain ranked as the best side in Southeast Asia.

While Thailand football could be moving into a crash and burn phase Withe's future appears brighter. He has brought to the Indonesian squad the enthusiasm and winning spirit that he instilled in Thailand.

Will solid pragmatic decision making be applied by the FAT regarding giving the team a consistent coaching situation or will saving or losing face be a factor in Held being the third coach to walk the plank since Withe's dismissal?

Will it continue to be the Thai's verses the foreigner (coach) or will the Thai's be able to come together an adapt to a professional International football standard that includes discipline and coaches working together to resolve problems. There's an English word for it... COMMUNICATION.

Does the lack of communication achieve anything? Does talking behind ones back bring about a positive result?

Will the world have to adjust to Thailand or will Thailand adjust to the world? Stay tuned…..



1. Brazil - 843

2. France - 792

3. Argentina - 785

4. Czech Republic 777

5. Spain - 765

6. Netherlands - 758

7. Mexico - 753

8. England - 752

9. Portugal - 747

10. Italy - 738


Like Thailand Cambodia has suffered as a result in emphasizing a program to enlist younger players on to the team aka, youth movement.

All-time leading scorer Hok Sochetra was left off the Tiger Cup squad. The team scored only two goals in the competition while conceding 22.

Som Saran, a former national player during the 80's, coached the squad. Cambodia piled up loses to Indonesia 8-0, Vietnam 9-1, Singapore 3-0 and Laos 2-1.

Note: Sochetra is married with children and plays for his cell phone company team. It appears his national team days are over.



Small ripples can be felt in this month’s FIFA World Ranking. The top three teams remain unchanged, so the Seleçao claim the Top Team title ahead of second place France for an incredible third year running.

Czech Republic (4th, up 1) turn the tables on Spain (5th, down 1), as do Mexico (7th, up 1) on England (8th, down 1). The biggest mover to break into the Top 10 this year has been Portugal (9th, up 8) who have reaped the benefits of their European Championship performances.

Looking back over the year, however, we can see evidence of far-reaching changes. Not only have China PR made laudable progress in the Ranking (54th, up 32), but they also claim this year’s Best Mover award, after adding 101 points to their 2003 total.

Three other teams have also climbed 30 or more places since December 2003 – Côte d’Ivoire (40th, up 30), Uzbekistan (47th, up 34), and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (137th, up 32).

In addition to these four climbers, another nine teams have gained more than 20 ranks on last year, including Australia (58th, up 24), Libya (61st, up 22), Panama (100th, up 25) and Oceania Nations Cup surprise packages Solomon Islands (130th, up 26).

The most richly rewarded matches in 2004 were shock wins by Ukraine (in Turkey), Venezuela (in Uruguay) and the Greek EURO coup against Portugal.

With 1019 games having already been played this year and close to 30 matches still outstanding (Tiger Cup, Gulf Cup, CECAFA Cup), 2004 may well set a new all-time record (currently 1044 matches in 2000).

The next FIFA World Ranking will be published on January 19, 2005.



ESPN reported that Thailand National Coach Siegfried Held has intentions to implement discipline for the Thai squad. An ESPN analyst Steve Darby said he doubted that it would work, as the Thai squad is different from other teams. Held was a member of Germany's 1966 and 1970 World Cup finals teams.


Four members of the Thai National team Kiatisak Senamaung, Choketawee Promrut, Dusit Chalermsan and Tawan Sripan said they would no longer play for the team.

This follows a culmination of events that started when Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra blasted the team after they suffered a 4-1 defeat to North Korea in a World Cup Qualifying game. According to a Bangkok Post report Shinawatra said the veterans were lacking heart.

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