Saturday, 3 March 2012

Korat Vs MTU - preview

This from Vinnie at the Korat site

A pre-season friendly with meaning

Nakhon Ratchasima F.C will officially launch their 2012 season on Saturday when they line up against Muangthong United in a prestigious pre-season friendly. That fact alone is notable: Korat have never 'launched' a season before; there just hasn't been enough interest in the past. Low-key pre-season friendlies were played and then the season would quietly get underway.
Tomorrow, however, as many as ten thousand fans will pay to watch a pre-season friendly. They will be introduced to the 2012 squad, including around fifteen new signings; and the new shirt, and other new merchandise, will be on sale before the start of the league season – another first.

On the pitch, the 2009 and 2010 Thai Premier League champions will provide stiff opposition for the team. There was a gulf in class when Chonburi cruised to a 3-0 win a few weeks ago; there's every chance of a similar result tomorrow. Fans should bear in mind that Korat are targetting a mid-table finish in Division 1 this season; Muangthong are targetting a third Thai Premier League title. Muangthong's players have a new coach to impress, too. Serbian Slaviša Jokanović replaced the Blackpool-via-India bound Robbie Fowler just last weekend.
Of course, Anon Sangsanoi, still contracted to Muangthong, will line up for his loan club Korat and would surely love to find the back of the net to let his employers know what they're missing.

But amid all the excitement and razzmatazz of the occasion, it shouldn't be forgotten that the game is also a testimonial match. Two remarkable players – dedicated, honest, fair and sporting – are calling time on their Korat careers. Both joined the club at its formation in the 1999-2000 season. Pratheep has been here for every season whilst Kitti had one season at Chaiyaphum in 2010 before returning for a glorious swansong in 2011. Stand up and applaud them when the time comes; it's the least they deserve.

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