Thailand’s second most successful club, Muangthong United have four league titles to their name, having won in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2016. The side boasted an incredible number of Thai internationals for most of the decade, and have seen their top stars earn notable moves abroad. However, the side have cut back in recent years, struggling to finish in the top four after selling off many key members of their squad. This season, the Kirin no longer have any established senior internationals or former title winning players in their squad, and are trusting in their youth academy graduates in a major turn of emphasis for the club.
Head coach – Alexandre Gama
Alexandre Gama is the most successful coach in recent Thai League history. Arriving in 2014 with Buriram United, the Brazilian tactician won two titles with the Thunder Castle, including an unbeaten campaign in his second season. After departing the club in 2016, Gama led newly-rich Chiangrai United to a League Cup two FA Cup triumphs. After a short spell as the head coach of Thailand’s Olympic team, the 52-year-old has now taken up the challenge
Unlike in the past, Muangthong don’t have standout individual players, as they field the division’s youngest side. Most of the squad are in their early 20s, with the foreign recruits providing experience in key areas.
Derley (Striker) – The Brazilian target-man is crucial to Muangthong’s setup under Alexandre Gama. Having formerly played for Portugese giants Benfica, Derley joined the Kirin from CD Aves last season. Apart from providing an aerial threat and goalscoring instincts in the box, Derley’s hold-up play is crucial for the side in transitions, and his hard work off the ball is admired by fans.
Patcharapol Intanee (Defensive Midfielder) – After making his Muangthong debut two seasons ago, many expect 21-year-old Patcharapol to have a breakout campaign this season as a regular starter for the Kirin. Capable of functioning as both a defensive midfielder and a central defender, Patcharapol is a tenacious ball-winner with excellent reading of the game and solid distribution ability as well.
Weerathep Pomphan (Central Midfielder) – The left-footed playmaker has caught the eye of Muangthong for his excellent vision and use of the ball . Replacing captain Sarach Yooyen as the side’s creative hub (a role he will fight for with fellow 23-year-old Sorawit Panthong), Weerathep has been singled out for praise by Gama and the club’s Football Director, who reportedly rates him very highly.
Notable former players
Chanathip Songkrasin, Theerathon Bunmathan, Teerasil Dangda, Kawin Thamsatchanan, Cleiton Silva, Mario Gjurovski, Jay Bothroyd, Lee Ho, Kim Dong-Jin
What’s to like?
Muangthong United have built up a large fanbase over the years because of their star-studded lineup and immense success. However, with their new focus, the side’s prestigious academy is a draw for fans interested in witnessing the next generation of Thai talent come through. Their purpose-built football stadium is also a big plus for supporters.