With the new 2021/2022 Thai League 2 season now underway it is time to rub the old crystal ball and make this season’s predictions.
Part 1 of the preview (which can be read here) covered the first six clubs in alphabetical order, from Ayutthaya United to Khon Kaen FC.
Next up is northern club Lampang FC. The Emerald Chariots have seemingly become the support club for last year’s T2 champions, Nongbua Pitchaya FC. New strikers include the Korean Jun-ho Heo, and Selwan al-Jaberi who joins from Ranong United. The side were 12th last season, and represented a difficult away trip for most teams in the league. Prediction: 13th
Lamphun Warriors is one of the three promoted clubs. Unfortunately, they are currently mired in controversy with questions raised about the club’s owner and the source of the funds used to purchase the club. Last season the promoted teams finished 3rd, 5th and 6th. Ambition matters in this league and Lamphun Warriors (great name and catchiest club song ever!) made some eye-catching signings. None more so than Aly Cissokho; once of Liverpool, Valencia, FC Porto and Aston Villa. The burning question is whether the club can still afford what could well be the highest wage-bill in the league. Add to that the Venezuelan Jeffren who joins from Al-Dhaia, in the UAE emirate of Sharjah, and Tiago Chulapa from Police Tero in League 1.
The best new hire might be the big goalkeeper, Samuel Cunningham, who has joined from Nakhon Ratchasima; though fans may miss Adisak’s free-kick cameos. I did think that Lamphun were ambitious enough for a play-off spot, but with all the uncertainty (which is a police matter you will have to read about elsewhere), who knows what the club will look like by mid-season. Prediction: 11th
Muangkan United, from Kanchanaburi, is another of the promoted sides with ambition. They have brought in some players with good T1 experience in Caion and Leandro Assumpcao (Suphanburi), Jonatan Reis (Trat) Artyom Filiposyan (Prachuap) and Martin Steuble (Port). It appears that the club will have to change home stadium mid-season with some disruption but they appear well organized and ambitious investors. A play-off spot would be a fine return from their first season in League 2. Prediction: 6th
Nakhon Pathom United finished third last season, running out of steam during the play-offs. They have lost a number of key players in the transfer window, including Nantawat Kokfai to Bangkok United, Taua Dos Santos to Prachuap, and most recently captain Lesley Ablorh to Police Tero. They haven’t invested sufficiently to replace them, but Mark Lester Blanco from Phrae United looks like an interesting signing. Whether coach Thongchai Sukkoki can lift the side after their upward momentum of consecutive promotions was halted last season remains to be seen. Prediction: 7th
Navy FC’s best hire is the Japanese midfielder Yuki Bamba, who joins after an excellent season with Chiang Mai FC. He joins fellow Japanese player Tatsuya Sakai from Samut Prakan. New head coach Mitsuo Kato, also from Japan, has an interesting CV having previously worked as an assistant at Chonburi FC, Samut Prakan City and Kyoto Sanga. However, this season, Navy looks more like an Auxiliary Oiler than a Fast Frigate, and mid-season subs may be required to keep the team afloat. Prediction: 15th
Phrae United have kept much of last year’s squad. Kyaw Ko Ko has arrived from Chiangmai United where he was underused last season. Rodrigo Maranhão arrives as centre forward having spent most of the last six years building up frequent flyer miles between clubs in Brazil and Thailand. He will partner Wellington Adao up front.
Phrae should be fun to watch – stronger in attack than defense. They are a good squad, appear to be well coached, and have made their home stadium into one of the more fun grounds to visit and one of the more difficult places to get a result. Prediction: 5th