Chapter 03 Many great things have happened to Khon Kaen FC since the last column, we will look at each aspect in more depth. Firstly the marketing team are very pleased to see over 24,000 people reading the first ever column for our foreign fan club via Facebook and issuu. (Please bear in mind some spelling may be altered when uploaded to issuu)
• Clubs 10 game Target
After 10 TPL games played the club Executives and Management are overall very pleased with the teams start. To pick up double figures was our initial target. Therefore with 11 points from five of the first ten games, we have achieved our first target. Our President has always reiterated that the first 5 games was our induction to the TPL, and the next five games would show how we would realistically fair for the season. So we are showing the right signs to give us a strong chance of survival, with a glimmer of hope we may make the top ten. Although no one is counting there chickens just yet, as we realize there is a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead. We must improve overall on tactical weaknesses we have shown, which we are showing signs of especially at home. This all takes time for a new club adapting to a new project with new staff and new players.
A great win!
• To win 3-2 again at home against Chiang Rai United FC really gave the whole club belief. The fans have now gained belief in their team. The team has gained added belief in their coaches. And most importantly the Management continues to give belief to their team and coaching staff. Going into the match, the form guide showed we were the favorites after they had lost their previous three games and we had drew, won and lost respectively. But looking at the points CRUFC were on 8 points and KKFC were on 9points. So before the match it proved to be a real six pointer.
Art’s Miracle Goal
• Well what can you say? Was it a tackle? Was it a clearance? Was it a shot? Well knowing Art (No23 Jattupon Sittilohit) it was probably a shot, he loves shooting and he sees himself as a bit of a striker in training. But every coach is constantly reminding him he is our sweeper now! But it has to be said it was a very lucky shot that took a miracle bounce over the unfortunate Chiang Rai goalkeeper Mantewa’s (No30) head. So luck has a big say in football. And we deserved this luck, maybe 3 minutes before our player was injured their striker Roland Vargas did not wish to throw the ball back to our players instead he played a sneaky throw to his fellow striker, fortunately for us they missed. And a few choice words expressed by the coaching staff to the player. He did apologize after the match and we accepted that he may not have meant to do this at the time. But with South Americans as much as I love them as people you just never know as players. You just have to look how important each goal meant to the team, and this incident emphasized the celebrations and a certain coach Sak and Coach Nick probably got a little too excited. Still passions run high in football and after working in training all week on crossing and finishing it helped improve the quality of our final ball in this match.
First goals for Khampheng Sayavutthi- The First Laos player to score in the TPL
Everyone was talking about Art’s goal and unfortunately for Khampheng (No25) it took the glory away from his match winning performance. Everyone at the club was so pleased to see him score, you could see this in our celebrations and with both his well taken goals he shrugged of his teammates to run all the way to the bench to show his delight to his Management and coaches who have huge faith in him. I’m sure Chang will now go on to score many goals for the club and prove to be a great signing. I’m convinced the same can happen with Ya (Kanlaya Sysomvang No 10) I joked before the game with Chang, Ya and Xiang Li (No 5) that if they scored today - there first goal, I will give some of my win bonus from the 2-1 Siricha game. This is just a fun way to get some banter out of the players and raise a laugh to ease any tension before the game. I remember it worked last season when Jeng (Adisak Jarat 19) couldn’t find the net.
• Injuries to key players
A special mention to Jeng and Man (Charin Butrahat No9) who have been injured just when they both found there form. It was so disappointing to lose Jeng in the Chiang Rai match as everything was going so well, he was on fire. We wish them both a speedy recovery so they will soon be back to strengthen the squad. Wenxin Li (No17) is looking strong on the ball and sharper in training. He has worked very hard to get back to fitness. A special mention must go to Doctor Achira and his team, who work tirelessly bringing each injured player back to full fitness.
• Japan Tsunami and Thailand flood relief by club and fans.
It was devastating to see the people of Japan lose their lives in the recent Tsunami. Doctor Kasom Chanawongse and his staff had a fabulous idea to help raise funds to go towards the relief to rebuild Sendai, Tokyo and surrounding towns. We used the Chiang Rai match to donate funds raised from the sale of our T-Rex & Japan Tsunami T-shirts – As our slogan says fittingly to Japan: You will never hurt alone. Such a disaster affects everyone and every industry. It has affected the Japanese and Asian Football and it now looks like the FIFA Club Cup which Stuart Kelly’s former club Auckland City FC will play in will be moved from Japan to either Brazil or Spain. Japan is a place my wife and I would always like to visit as we have friends who tell us how wonderful it is. I have always found the Japanese people a special race and can only wish them the best for the future. Even if you have lost everything please remember after every dark night there is a brighter day. Through football I hope there sublime national football team can help them forget albeit for a short while when they play and help lift the spirit of the Japanese people. The Charity relief was very well received by the T-Rex fan club with the donations to be presented to the Japanese Embassy by Dr. Kasom Chanawongse his father the founder of The College of Asian Scholars Prof.Dr.Krasae Chanawongse.
• Team unity – game, relief fundraising
Khon Kaen FC is a club of Unity and passion. We are seen as a professional club but we are run by people who have many responsibilities in there every day life. For example our General Secretary Mr. Ong-Arj Kosinkar Is a politician for the people, and a family man with a passion for football that helps him combines all three of his responsibilities. This is a similar case for our coaches and players. We are not in a position to be full time footballers or full time coaches just yet. We have to juggle many jobs and wear many separate hats. Therefore you must understand we are preparing for the future of the club and some days will be concentrating on another responsibility and some days we will be devoted to the club 100%. As you can see from our results we are achieving the target set by the management, so we can operate the club as it is at present, to one day be a fully functional fulltime football club. That’s why we are not too disappointed to lose 3-1 to the TPL champions. Although on our best days we feel we can win such a game and in time when it all comes together, we will win such games and cause upsets along the way. The future is the TPL and AFC Champions league. We must set a future for Khon Kaen for our friends, parents, sons and daughters to be proud of. And that is what we are trying to achieve at this club.
• AFC Champions League Football Delegates - Welcome to Khon Kaen
It was another special day to welcome the delegates from AFC Champions League Football to our home. It was an honor for me to be asked to speak after the club President Dr. Kasom Chanawongse on behalf of Khon Kaen FC in individual presentations to the AFC director Tokuaki Suzuki and his team at Mahassarakham University. Dr.Kasom gave an introduction of how far the club has come from the beginning to where we are as a club today. He spoke about the courses that the college run using education as the key to our success, with the emphasis on the development of our local players and local coaches. Providing a natural path for players to step into at the end of their playing career. Giving the younger players who have been through the system an education to fall back on. Dr. Kasom explained how he was the coach with the present Youth team coach his player and the present Head coach his player. A club that has only operated for six years, that has grown quickly into one of the highest qualified teams in Thailand. The rise of the team through the leagues using local talent, with star names moving on to bigger clubs and playing for the National team. The success of youth and women’s football in Issan. I gave an insight into the technical aspects of the club, all the key positions filled within our structure. Concentrating on the success of the youth system. The ongoing commitment from the Executives of the club. Highlighting the importance of our local coaches being driven by our Club President who is the FIFA instructor for F.A.T. who has risen to the top to work alongside the President of FIFA Sepp Blatter. Showing how the media, fan club and club marketing play a vital role in our success. We then answered questions in separate meetings with each delegates to inform them of the requested criteria. They went on to view the stadium before coming to Khon Kaen’s Stadium and official club merchandise shop at Central Plaza. We had a lunch with the delegates before they left. We appreciate their support and guidance. t
I noticed how proud our staff and management were on such an occasion. These are people who have been a part of the club from the beginning, when the club was established in 2005. Could they have dreamt of such a day? Inviting the heads of AFC Champions league football to the future home of Issan football. A great deal of credit must go to the President, Management, Khon Kaen Football Association staff, players, coaches, doctors and the fan club for making such a dream a reality. They will be back in October to assess how far along the club has come, in its potential to play Champions league football.
Our management has been an inspirational factor to our club success on a weekly basis and especially to the team on match days.
The President Dr. Kasom Chanawongse is always encouraging from the bench at home games and behind the team with the T-Rex fan club family on away games. He passes on his football knowledge, strength, understanding and passion to the coaches and players before kickoff, at half time and in our de-brief meetings after each match. But it is not only the work that everyone sees on a match day, you should all be aware of how hard working and inspired such a man is to act as an excellent role model to anyone in everyday life. If he is not busy running courses for students at the College of Asian Scholars in Khon Kaen, he is fulfilling his role as FIFA Instructor for the Football Association of Thailand. He works with complete self motivation for his people, his passion and most importantly his family. This self motivation must have come from a remarkable Chanawongse family. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Kasom or KC as he is affectionately known in our ranks. Under KCâ€™s guidance the future of Issan football is in very safe hands.
Our Manager Pongsak Tangwanichakapong is always the first in to our dressing room home and away before the match or at half time to inspire the players with a win bonus or goal bonus. He is always there after the match to offer his hand to the opposition and to clap the players off the pitch win lose or draw. He has expectations of his teamâ€™s performance but is very realistic with the competition before him. The more I see how they operate the more admiration I have for there style. I can only speak for myself in saying they make you want to fight for them to achieve results week in week out.
When you see the fantastic sponsors we have on our club shirt. Beer Leo, The council, Central Plaza and 3K. This all goes down to the hours spent by General Secretary Mr. Ong-Arj Kosinkar and his personal staff to secure such sponsors for the future of our club. A man with a vision of football marketing. He drives the club forward off the field with his close relationship with the Presidents and Management. There is no better man in football than Mr.Mac.
Weeradet Xata - Vice President is an inspirational character to have behind the scenes. When he is not sitting on the bench gee-ing the team up in the huddle, kicking every ball or taking turns with Ajarn Pairat on match days either singing the Thai National anthem or making announcements .You may find him Directing his Kaemkannakorn School. He has fantastic football knowledge and is always on hand to give the team advice at training.
• Stuart Kelly – Welcome to the TPL!
Stuart has made a great impression so far with the Management, fan club and team. Being a Scotsman he wasn’t too happy about accidently booking himself into the top hotels in BKK spending a small fortune! Stu got stuck in the BKK traffic in the middle of another downpour and couldn’t find anywhere else and ended up in the executive’s suite at Siam Siam. He had a great view of the stadium for Saturday. Stuart has already offered valuable comments in training and from the bench at the BEC Tero match. We are very pleased to have an experienced player who is also highly qualified in coaching to add to our family. He will help us all. I feel Stuart can help connect the midfield to our strikers and can be a leader on the pitch organizing players taking some pressure off the captain. He is now settled in to his apartment where the Chinese players stay. This will help build the connection with them and be closer to the Thai players for transfers to and from training. Xiang Li and Wenxin Li have made Stuart feel comfortable and taken him to lunch. After our return to Khon Kaen Stu also enjoyed a meal, walk round central and a light game of basketball with my family and me. He was on the winning side with one of my students High who became close friends with my nephew Aaron who unfortunately had me on his side; it was a close game 21-18 honest! A big thank you also to the coaching staff and Gattusso, who has also helped Stu settle in. They are now roommates on away trips; maybe he can help him with his Thai. He will be a player the President and Manager can rely on. He will be a player who knows exactly what Coach Nurong wants him to do when he is told. He will be a player who can also help me pass on instructions and detail at set-pieces by showing the players on the field. But we will not be singling him out for any special attention. He is simply another piece of the jigsaw puzzle. That is also how Stuart wants it to be. He brings an excellent playing pedigree and valuable experience from a
professional career playing and coaching in Scotland to our club. He tells me in great detail of his recent experience at Auckland City in New Zealand and how it was a big success. They are an organized club with a Professional mentality, a club that has been operating in this manner for some time. His coaches are excellent and have been given rave reviews in Oceana football. He leaves a team who has just earned the right to play in the FIFA Club Cub won last season by Barcelona. His former team will be drawn in the same group as the host. The tournament will not be held in Japan now because of the Tsunami. It is possible they will play in Brazil or Spain. If it is held in Spain, the host team could be either Barcelona or Real Madrid. If either wins the UEFA Champions League then the highest finishing team will be the host team, as both are in the semi final and either could win the league then either Barcelona or Real Madrid could be playing Auckland City FC. So you must be wondering why Stuart has left and how he could possibly miss out on this prestigious event. It’s simple really. Football in Thailand is growing fast and the crowds that the league is attracting are better than New Zealand and he simply wants to play in a professional league with more games and strong media coverage. He was a big part of the team and will bring what he has learnt from being involved in an organized and successful team with a style of play the same as Barcelona’s that had rave reviews after winning the cup final, finishing joint second in the league. He will be an excellent addition to a young team. He was a bit devastated he must replace his pink training top after a fan took it off his shoulder at the BEC TERO game. We all wish Stuart good luck for his future with KKFC. • Club Exposure: Each week if you are a Khon Kaen FC fan, you can pick up either the Siam Sports magazine, the sports paper or the National papers. They all have outstanding coverage and focus on each Premier League team. Live games featured on TV and crowds growing week by week. The club is now gaining exposure which can only be good for the town. Thai football is a good place to be and I feel that’s why it will entice better players and more foreign players to our market. So credit must go to the reporters and photographers who travel the length of the country to bring you the action.
BEC TERO Sasana match.
On a rain soaked field we were sorry we could not give Dr KC a perfect birthday. I wasn’t too worried with BEC Tero Sasana they didn’t really scare me. However all our coaches did feel they played better football than us and were far more organized. On a better day we could have had a result. But it was completely down to how we played. In the first half we had some bright passages of play up to the forwards. But we just started to get more and more stretched as the game went on. Our defensive trio was far too deep, holding midfielder doing more than one job. The defensive interchange was too slow, our wingbacks were pinned back to act only as defenders and not attackers. The midfield two were forced to act as defenders. The second half could have been different. We brought new signing on Stuart Kelly. Unfortunately we conceded a penalty too quickly to make it 3-0. After the goal they were strolling and there was no real way back but we became brighter and the midfield kept the ball better, however the wingbacks legs were drained by this time to get forward to support our attacks. They managed to win corners but couldn’t find the strength to get past the fullbacks or miss out the fullback with any crosses when in the right areas. The strikers and midfield linked up to score, and managed to hit the target with a few shots. Gatusso had a golden chance to head in. But it wasn’t our day. We would be kidding ourselves on if we thought it could have been 3-3 because they could have scored another 3. So on to our next game another six pointer game that can be won at our Mahassarakham home. We must now look to our forthcoming matches against Police as a chance to get closer to them on points. We must also treat the game against Army in a similar fashion to the Chaing Rai game. These are games that if we can get points from can make or break how the rest of our season will be. Will we be fighting in a relegation battle with the bottom six teams? Or Will we be competing with the teams in sixth to twelfth place for a mid table finish? To finish mid table with a young new team and new staff still finding their feet in the top league of Thailand, would be a remarkable achievement and make us even stronger for the next campaign. Let’s go out there with a big T-Rex roar and make the Executives, the Management and the Fan club proud to say ‘We are Khon Kaen!’
Personally this has been the busiest time of my life. My wife and I have had a baby boy, we are building a home to live in, and my family (sister, nephew and neice) visited the same week our new signing Stuart Kelly arrived. I have been in contact with Stuart constantly for 10 months to make this move happen as it is my job to bring in and take care of the foreign signings (outside Asia.) I brought Stuart here as I feel he would be a success on and off the pitch and he will eventually see what my family and I see. That Khon Kaen can be a great place to settle. My nephew Aaron will be going home with his TPL sticker book and new Khon Kaen FC kit. So why do I do thisâ€Ś simple football is the only drug I need. And thankfully my wife and sister understand, they have seen it all before!!
Sabuy Sabiu with NG Chapter 3