BANGKOK, Dec 4 (Bernama) -- Thailand, the hot favourites for the men's and women's futsal gold at the Korat SEA Games, see Malaysia as their most formidable opponent, especially in the men's competition.
Thailand's coach for the men's team, Adisak Benjasiriwon said among the seven competing nations, he expects Malaysia to be a tough hurdle although the threat from Indonesia and Vietnam cannot be discounted.
"In a competition like this, we have to respect all participating teams as all of them have shown marked improvement in tactical and physical aspects," he said.
Benjasiriwon, who is also the SEA Games Futsal competition chairman, told Bernama this after watching his men's and women's teams training at the Sports Authority of Thailand Indoor Stadium here today.
Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Myanmar are in Group A while Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos make up Group B.
Meanwhile, Thailand's coach for the women's team, Nareamon Siriwat, said he is also expecting Malaysia to be among the semi-finalists besides Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
In the women's competition, Malaysia are placed in Group A together with the Philippines and Laos, while Thailand head Group B with Vietnam and Myanmar for company.
Thailand have maintained the 14 players who won the runner-up spot at the 2nd Macau Indoor Games recently.
Futsal, included in the SEA Games programme for the first time, will be played at the Sports Authority of Thailand Indoor Stadium from Dec 7 to 13.
The Malaysian men's and women's teams open their campaign against the Philippines on Dec 7.