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Phuket Sport: Mid-season gloom for Islanders

Phuket Sport: Mid-season gloom for Islanders

COMMENT: Phuket FC’s game against Nakhon Ratchasima on Saturday wrapped up the first half of the 2013 season – but the first home loss of the year for the Islanders left them in sixth place in Yamaha League 1, and three points shy of the top three places, their target set at the start of the season.

By Kazira Hans

Friday 5 July 2013, 09:20AM

There’s no way to put it mildly: for a team with such resources and support as Phuket FC, this is a failure. The team has had just six wins in 17 games, and they’ve struggled for a win every time. I can’t recall a single game this season where they won with flying colours. 

Some have said in their defence that the 17 teams in this season’s League 1 are almost at the same level, with no strong or weak teams, which means none of the games will be easy.
Others say that in football, anything can happen, and it’s only normal to win some and lose some.

But no, this is not normal. A football team doesn’t make it to the top by “winning some” – a team makes it to the top by winning often.

I wrote earlier this year that if Phuket FC wants a spot in the Thai Premier League in 2014, they will have stay on top of the league for the entire season, and not just play catch-up.

With the Islanders now in sixth place, and 17 games remaining in the season, Phuket will have to start winning often just to stay in contention. Their next game, tomorrow (July 6) against BBCU FC at Surakul Stadium, will be the next chance the players have to prove themselves.

BBCU have 25 points, with six wins, seven draws and four losses, almost identical to Phuket FC’s six wins, seven draws and three losses, with one less game played.

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The winners will have more room to breath, while the losers will shoulder more burden going into the next game. It goes without saying, but this game is very important.

To aid in their promotion push, Phuket FC have added new players to their squad. In particular, the arrival of striker Sukree E-tae from Chonburi FC might help Dudu, who used to be the sole striker but hasn’t been able to play to his full potential, finding himself closely marked in every game.

With a strong defense, which fans dub the “Super Big 4”, the challenge for the coach and the team is to work on connecting the midfield and forwards, and promote more attacking play – not just long balls.

BBCU have a strong squad. They have the experience of Moussa Silla, and the speed of Bouba Abbo combined with his 188 cm height – Nene Bi and Sato might have to use their heads more than ever.

BBCU’s strength is their ground game where they control the tempo with smooth, passing moves, but Pichet Inbang’s direct free kicks can be deadly as well.

Phuket will have to learn from their last home game to not let them get too close to strike.
They also need to learn a winning mentality – before it’s too late.

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