Coach Milovan Rajevac is confident that he will be able to push Thailand to another level after the War Elephants drew 1-1 with the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup qualifier at Rajamangala National.
A last-gasp goal by Ali Ahmed Mabkhout cancelled out Mongkol Thosakrai’s strike in the 70th minute and denied the Thais a rare win against the UAE. It was Serbian Rajevac’s first competitive match in charge of Thailand, having seen his men lose 2-0 in a friendly at Uzbekistan a week earlier.
“I am very pleased with our performance,” Rajevac told a press conference yesterday. Although we failed to win, it was a good result considering that we only had a short period of time to prepare the team.”
He added: “The Thai players have talent and potential. They are willing to work hard. They also have a good attitude. They understand my tactics and their duty. They are also hungry [for success]. “These factors will help us go in the right direction. If we work harder and I have more time, I am sure that we will become a top-10 team in Asia.
Thailand are out of contention for a ticket to Russia with two points from eight games in Group B of Asia’s final qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup. Thailand’s last two matches in the group are at home to Iraq on Aug 31 and away at Australia on Sept 5. After the UAE stalemate, Rajevac is now looking forward to securing Thailand’s first win of the campaign. “We have a chance to beat Iraq and get our first three points of this round,” said the 63-year-old coach. He added that Thailand had conceded a lot of goals in the past and his first task was to strengthen the defense.
“We have clearly improved in the defense,” said Rajevac who guided Ghana to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup.