Thailand football has reached greater heights since former international Kiatisuk Senamuang took over as coach in 2014. The War Elephants have grown from strength to strength and have become one of the strongest sides in the Asean region.
Having won the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, Thailand are on course for their second consecutive and a record-breaking sixth title at the biennial tournament. Senamuang's side have maintained a perfect record in the group stages of the tournament to clinch nine full points from three games.
They will face Myanmar in a two-legged semi-final on 4 and 8 December, respectively. Being the only team from the Asean pool to have made it to final round of 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifier, the 129th-ranked country are favourites to win the Suzuki Cup this year.
Days before their Suzuki Cup opening win against Indonesia, the War Elephants clinched their first points by holding Asian champions Australia to a 2-2 draw in their Asian leg Group B encounter.
Senamuang coach believes that a good mix of youth and experience has led to their success in recent years. He also reveals that there are a few rules which he does not want his players to break. If they do, leaving the squad immediately is the only option, according to the 43-year-old coach.
"When I became the national coach in 2014, I could have called up the experienced players like Datsakorn Thonglao and Rungsan Viwatchaichok. I felt it was time to change. The team I called up then has an average age of 22 and I want to build them up. I believe they can last for the next 10 years," Senamuang said, as quoted by The Straits Times.
"No drinking. No smoking. No partying. No gambling or card games. If my staff, the media or myself catch them ignoring this code of conduct, they have to pack their bags immediately and go home."
Also, both the coach and his men are not content with being a dominant side in the Asean region. Senamuang says the Thais want Asian domination.
Under Senamuang, Thailand also reached the semi-final of 2014 Asian Games outclassing teams of the likes of higher-ranked Jordan before they were stopped by South Korea. Also the ongoing World Cup qualifiers is helping themselves assess their position at the highest level.
"We will try to be a top 10 country in Asia. We are 19th now and not too far away," Senamuang added.
"The World Cup third round showed that we have individual quality, we have good technique. But we can learn more because teams like Japan have much higher standards. Yes, it will be a dream come true to win the Asian Cup. We can always try."