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 covered the first six clubs in alphabetical order, from Ayutthaya United to Khon Kaen FC, while Part 2 picked up the mantle from Lampang FC to Phrae United. Now it’s time to conclude with the final six.
Newly promoted Rajpracha FC are under the stewardship of BG Pathum United with access to their first class facilities. They will play their home games at BG’s Leo Stadium, which is the best playing surface in Thailand by some distance. They were to be coached by Dusit Chalermsan, who led BG to the League 1 title last season. His coaching record at BG was outstanding: P 72; W 54; D 11; L 10. However, the demotion can’t have sat well with him, as Dusit has now returned for a second stint at Port FC.
Douglas Ferreira has joined from Nongbua Pitchaya, while Angello Machuca was retained. Now that BG are stretching their resources across two clubs in this division, it remains to be seen how that balancing act will be carried out. Prediction: 8th
Next on to Grand Andaman Ranong United. Home advantage is important for the club, as their stadium is a long way to travel for every other opponent and not the easiest to play in. Their respective disadvantage is the distances they have to travel for away games. The two Cameroon defenders, Nzola and Mardochee, remain from last season. Korean Gi-sung Yeon joins as centre-forward, having previously played at Chamchuri United. Ranong have lost their better players and have scraped the lower divisions to add to their squad. They look likely to struggle. Prediction: 17th
Rayong FC were relegated from League 1 last season. They have retained the wonderfully named Adalgisio Pitbull, and added Ramon Rodriques and David Cueva to their ranks. Head coach Sugao Kambe also joins the club, having coached Khon Kaen United for the majority of last season before being replaced for the home stretch due to poor results. Prediction: 4th
Also relegated after an extended stay in League 1 were Sukothai FC. They were managed by Surapong Kongthep, who in the last two seasons has managed the relegation of both Chiang Mai FC and Sukhothai. He is now manager of Chiangmai United. Failure has its rewards.
Sukhothai are now managed by Dennis Amato, who was with Chiangmai United last season. They have added a good number of deent players to their squad Nicolas Velez joins from League 1 in Indonesia, while Osman Sow joins from Dundee FC (he might enjoy the change of climate). Centre back Hwang Do-Yeon joins from Korean League. Jeong Woo-geun and Saharat Kaewsaengsai both reunite with Amato from Chiangmai United, while Maximilian Steinbauer was picked up from Muangthong. I think Sukhothai have enough desire, support and cash to go back up to League 1. Prediction: 1st
Trat FC should score a hatful of goals this season. Relegated from T1, the club has added Valdomiro Soares from Nongbua Pitchaya, Paulo Conrado from Khon Kaen United and Marc Landry Babo from Sisaket. Conrado, despite (or because?) of the length of his shorts, was League 2’s leading goalscorer last season. Meanwhile, in defence, they’ve added Myanmar international Zaw Min Tun from Sukhothai and Hiromichi Katano from Sisaket. Their coach, Somchai Chuayboonchum, also won the division with Nongbua last year. The White Elephants should be in for a strong season. Prediction: 2nd
After a 15th place finish and escaping relegation on the last day of the season, Udon Thani FC have freed themselves from the shackles of being managed by Muangthong. They’ve moved stadium, have a new local investor, and are looking for a top ten finish this season.
Plenty of renewed contracts from last season; Thales Lima, Arnold Suew and Aleksander Kapisoda among their foreign contingent. New adds include Soukaphone Vongchiengkham from Uthai Thani and young left winger Ritthidet Phensawat on loan from Chonburi. Argentinian Daniel Blanco, once of Army United, is now head coach at Udon Thani. This is a club that, with some success, could be so much better supported and which already has good English language social media coverage. Prediction: 9th
So there are my 2021/2022 predictions – the main lessons being that football in Thailand has rarely been so uncertain or unpredictable; and that in these difficult times the League, our clubs and our players need our support more than ever.
Enjoy the season.