Port FC pin title hopes on Dusit

Dusit Chalermsan has joined Port FC as head coach, just months after leading BG Pathum United to the 2020-21 Thai League (T1) title.

The 51-year-old is returning for a second stint at the Klong Toei side, having led Port during their successful promotion campaign from the second tier to T1 in 2013.

Dusit replaces Sarawut Treephan who failed to offer anything other than more of the same, having taken over from Jadet Meelarp last year. 

Port will look to their new boss for the inspiration that saw him guide BGPU from winners of T2 to T1 champions in their first season back in the top tier.

Port have enviously looked on as Chiangrai United and the Rabbits have broken Buriram United’s dominance of Thai football over the past couple of seasons. Despite significant investment in the playing squad since Nualphan ‘Madam Pang’ Lamsuan took over the club in 2015, Port have been unable to win the Thai League, finishing third in each of the last three seasons.

Dusit’s credentials as a title winner will now weigh heavily on him as he seeks to earn a second consecutive T1 crown with a different club. 

His departure from BGPU was controversial but seemingly linked to the fact that he did not possess the right coaching qualifications for the AFC Champions League. The Pathum Thani club brought in Aurelio Vidmar, while Dusit was appointed as head coach at BGPU’s close friends Rajpracha FC.

However, Dusit clearly didn’t fancy dropping down a level and seems to have been motivated by the challenge of going up against his former club. 

It is expected that the new boss will bring greater tactical sophistication than his predecessors and it will be interesting to see if he tries to implement the system that helped BGPU to the title.

Port have been rigidly sticking to a 4-2-3-1 formation for several seasons, while Dusit enjoyed success using three centre-backs and attacking wing-backs. He will surely look at the current personnel before deciding what adjustments to make, but he will certainly be looking to make his mark quickly.

He will also face the challenge of building an effective working relationship with the club president. The appointment of Dusit is consistent with Madam Pang’s tendency to go with reticent local coaches. The exceptions didn’t last long as the star power of Kiatisuk Senamuang failed to work out in 2017, while Choketawee Promrut went public to express his dissatisfaction with the way the club was run following his sacking last year.

Bringing in Dusit looks a smart move from a club that looks to take the next step after three years in which the squad has looked strong enough on paper to win the title but have lacked the right coach and recruitment policy. The club may have fixed one of those problems.

Paul Murphy

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