On Wednesday, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) named the Serbian Milovan Rajevac as the new head coach of the national team for a one-year deal. Rajevac, who instructed Ghana in the 2010 World Cup, was among a list of high-profile candidates including German veteran Wilfred Schaefer, Brazil’s World Cup winning captain Dunga and former Saudi Arabia coach Marcos Paqueta. According to a statement made by FAT, ‘the association spent almost one month looking for a coach, with capable candidates from around the world expressing interest”.

Thailand already out of Russia 2018

Rajevac will replace the fan favorite Kiatisuk Senamuang, who stepped down a month ago following harsh defeats in the World Cup qualifiers. With three more games to be played, the War Elephants are out of the running for a ticket to Russia 2018, having picked up just one point on seven matches in Group B of Asia’s final qualifying round.

Experienced coach

Rajevac arrives with some impressive experience. He led Ghana’s Black Stars to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2010, where they lost in a historic shoot-out to Uruguay after Asamoah Gyan missed a last-minute penalty. Renowned for his instilling discipline, the former Red Star Belgrade defender, has also coached the national sides of Qatar and Algeria. FAT’s Vice President Wittaya Laohakul announced that the one-year deal with Rajevac will start on the 4th of May.

‘We have chosen Rajevac because of his vision and his background in Asian football. We will evaluate him on a daily basis. Apart from the team results, the game pattern will be taken into consideration as well,’ mentioned Wittaya on Wednesday after officializing the appointment.

Expecting a bright start

Rajevac will be intent on achieving a bright start to his reign. His opening assignment will be a friendly match against Uzbekistan in Tashkent on the 6th of June.

Rajevac’s first competitive game will be a Russia 2018 qualifier against United Arab Emirates in Bangkok on the 13th of June.

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