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SPORTS NOTES -Thailand Wins Tiger Cup Presenting Indonesia Their Worst Nightmare


Thailand's towering striker Worawot Srimaka attacks Indonesian defense preparing to score one of his three goals.

 

 

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

Thailand presented Indonesia's National team manager Muhammad Zein (pronounced Zane) with his worst nightmare. A crowd of 40,000 screaming fans at Bangkok's Rajamangala stadium witnessed Worawot Srimaka score Thailand's first three goals and the tournaments only hat trick with on target strikes at minutes 14, 18, 32. Srimaka can be best described as the Shaquille O'Neal of Thai football/soccer. He has a HUGE WIDE BODY!!! At 6-4, he has the size and bulk to play linebacker for a professional National Football League (NFL) team in the United States.

 

Bangkok, Thailand

February 17, 2001

Thailand presented Indonesia's National team manager Muhammad Zein (pronounced Zane) with his worst nightmare for the Tiger Cup final. His name… Worawot Srimaka the Thai striker that powered in a hat trick within an 18 minute span in leading his team to a 4-1 victory over Indonesia for the championship of ASEAN football.

A crowd of 40,000 screaming fans at Bangkok's Rajamangala stadium witnessed Srimaka score Thailand's first three goals and the tournaments only hat trick with on target strikes at minutes 14, 18, 32.

In a pre match press conference the preceding day Zein expressed his displeasure that Srimaka be permitted to play in the final match since the striker was given a red card in the final first round match against the Philippines and had only sat out one game.

Zein said a red card should have eliminated Srimaka from the contest. He felt that a red card represents an automatic two game suspension.

Unlike the Asian way of being polite and not challenging, Zein is not shy about expressing his thoughts… like it or not… agree or disagree. He's as straightforward and in your face as a person can be without being offensive.

"Actually I don't care about this," he told the media of his red card suspension concerns. "I just want to tell you."

After his comments reporters gathered at the back of the room. With their minds fired up with interest they discussed if his complaint had merit.

It was determined that the violation wasn't a mandatory offense in the eyes of the FIFA rules. They said the rules state that two yellow cards do require a two game suspension. The severity of Srimaka's offense (punching an opposing player) was considered to be at the discretion of the referee. Officials decided that Srimaka could play after only a one game suspension… much to Zein's displeasure. Srimaka turned out to be a pain for Zein.

The giant (by ASEAN standards) Thai striker was suspended for the semifinal match against Malaysia. His five tournament goals tied him with Indonesia's Gendut Christiwan for the events scoring title. He also walked away with the player of the match award.


Teammate Surichai Jirasirichote leaps in the arms of Srimaka in celebration after a Tiger Cup victory.

 

Srimaka can be best described as the Shaquille O'Neal of Thai football/soccer. He has a HUGE WIDE BODY!!! At 6-4, he has the size and bulk to play linebacker for a professional National Football League (NFL) team in the United States.

After the match Zein recognized what Srimaka did to his team "Big size…tall, that was a big problem for them (Indonesia)," he said.

Srimaka's size compliments the quickness of his highly skilled but small teammate Kiatisuk Senamuang. The combination made the Thai team click and proved to be a major issue for the Indonesian squad. In NBA and parlance they could be called Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside of Thai football similar to Shaqueal O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

In the box Srimaka towers over his defenders giving him the advantage to place deadly headers into the goal with authority. He sheds defenders like a whale tossing minnows off his back. When teammates celebrate they have to jump high to hug him.

Conversely Senamuang's quickness an adept ball control keeps the defense back on their heels when he attacks. Senamuang scored in every match except the final and walked away with the tournament MVP Award. Thailand coach Peter Withe said that his being that type of scoring threat helped free scoring opportunities for Srimaka.

Thailand picked up $80,000 for winning the tournament. Indonesia earned $40,000 for its second place finish.

Notes:
The victory brought to fruition the full circle turnaround of the Thai team through the masterful coaching of its English coach Peter Withe. Withe was hired after the Thais tried to lose a match to Indonesia in the previous Tiger Cup. The two teams tried to lose to avoid playing Vietnam (see: Peter Withe ).

Thailand became the first host team to win the Tiger Cup since its inception in 1996 when they won the title in Singapore with a 1-0 victory over Malaysia. Senamuang scored the goal. The event is held every two years and was last won by Singapore with a 1-0 victory over Vietnam in Hanoi.

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