Friday, July 27, 2007

Kiatisak Senamuang waits for Thailand coach call

After 15 years in international football, Thailand's most famous player Kiatisak "Zico" Senamuang, 34, has decided to retire until he gets a shot at the national team job. He is reportedly enjoying being an entrepreneur, running a real estate company, a furniture factory and a sports events management company. But he says he will put all that on hold if he gets the chance to turn Thailand into a major players in Asian football. "I always dreamt of playing at the World Cup, but that never happened," Kiatisak told Martin Petty of Reuters. "But as a coach, I know I can take Thailand to the World Cup for the first time. Everyone knows I want the job, and I'm ready now. They just have to ask."

Kiatisak notched up 129 national team appearances and scored 65 goals. He caused a sensation bin 1999 when he became the first South East Asian to join a European club, lowly northern English team Huddersfield Town. "It was so difficult to adjust with the climate, speaking English, and not eating Thai food. I wasn't happy, I wasn't good enough, it was too cold and I was homesick. I learned how tough football in England can be, but it made me stronger."

The former Thai skipper caused a stir in 2004 when he stood up to then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who had demanded an overhaul of the national team and accused the players of lacking heart when they were eliminated from World Cup qualifiers. In a stinging rebuke, Kiatisak said the coup-ousted billionaire tycoon, who took full control of English Premier League club Manchester City on Monday, did not have a clue about soccer and should keep his mouth shut.

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