Part 2 of my T2 (M150 Championship) predictions for 2022-2023 – from Customs United to Phrae.
Customs United (formerly Ladkrabang Customs United) have been revitalized by an alliance with Port FC that brings in a new coach, Jadet Meelarp, and twenty-one (at the time of writing) new players – including a number of interesting additions to a large squad.
Customs’ little stadium, hidden among the endless roadworks of Ladkrabang, will hopefully see crowds improve upon the 248 average of last season under its new management.
In addition to Port FC loanees, the club has added loan players from Buriram’s academy. This youthful enthusiasm will be led by the experience of center back Adnan Orahovac from PT Prachuap, David Cuerva from Rayong, and Daisuke Sakai from Samut Prakan City. Miguel Clariño, a center back, has joined from Maharlika Manila FC.
Goals will be expected from Alexandre di Estefano (also rather confusingly known as Alexandre Balotelli) who netted fourteen for Krabi last season.
Grand Andaman Ranong United look likely to have a difficult season. The club has retained many of the squad from last season. However, the two center halfs, Frank Nzola and Kaham Marochee have both left the club which is now managed by Nattawut Rattanaporn, formerly the goalkeeping coach.
New players are few and far between. Japanese center back Yusaku has joined from Pathum Thani University while the Africa connection continues with the forwards Julius Chukwuma Ononiwu, who returns to Ranong from See Khwae City, and the wonderfully-named Alpha Barry most recently from Pattani FC but with experience in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.
Home advantage is always important for Ranong; especially playing in monsoon weather. Ranong lost just three times at home last season. Teams need to work out how to win there. If they do then home advantage will not be enough to escape relegation.
Kasetsart FC is another club that has seen some significant departures. Centre-half Celio Santos, together with French forwards Greg Houla and Simon Dia have all left the club.
New manager Worrawoot Srimaka has previously managed Kasetsart and was most recently in charge of Thailand’s U23 national team.
New arrivals include Soe Moe Kyaw, a Myanmar international center-half who joins the Korean Hyun -Woo Park in defense. There are four new players arriving from the squad that helped Uthai Thani to promotion from T3 last season. League 1 experience comes from Anon Samakorn from Nakhon Ratchasima. Center back Anusorn Jaiphet is one of two players from Udon Thani.
Kasetsart will be hoping for goals from Adalgiso Pitbull, though there may be concern at his statistics (one goal in eighteen games) from Rayong last season. Also expect to see Mateus Totô up front, a Brazilian arriving from Al-Washm who play in the Saudi Arabia second tier.
Krabi FC, newly promoted from T3, unlike Uthai Thani and Nakhon Si United, will rely in large part on their promotion squad from last season. It will not be an easy place for clubs to visit confronted by long travel times and a healthy rainy season.
That said. there are some interesting new additions. Up front, Badar Ali has joined from Chainat and the much-traveled Brazilian Jean Moser arrived from Asswehly SC in Libya. They will be supported by Phuchakhen Chandaeng who scored twelve times for Krabi last season.
Victor Oliveira is a tall center back who has arrived from Barra Futebol Clube in Brazil. He will likely partner Santipap Yaemsaen who is on loan from Bangkok United.
Unfortunately Krabi’s limited squad may struggle without further investment.
Nakhon Pathom United are led by long-serving manager, Thongchai Sukkoki who was appointed in November 2017 and has built a sound T2 side. Much of last season’s squad has been retained. However, the Brazilian winger Neto has left for Sisaket.
In defense, Iranian center back Amirali Chegini remains with the club and is joined by his countryman Abdolreza Zarei from Customs United.
The Egyptian Mohamed Essam is an interesting recruit at center forward; arriving in Thailand after a career in Egypt and Indonesia. The Norwegian Peter Nergaard is a second striker previously with Bangkok FC.
The club’s large squad finished 10th last season. Despite maintaining a stable squad it is hard to see the club finishing any higher than mid-table.
Nakhon Si United could be this year’s Lamphun Warriors. They have recruited eighteen new players under Jorg Steinebrunner most with some experience in League 1.
Steinebrunner is joined by Wanderley Junior, who coached Lamphun Warriors to the T2 title last season.
It is not a young squad but it is a squad built to succeed in T2. The defense will be built around Aleksander Kapisoda, recruited from Udon Thani and Ong-jin Kim who arrives in Thailand from Gwangju FC. Other centre back options include Praweenwat Boonyong from PT Prachuap and Narongrit Boonsuk from Khon Kaen United.
Full backs include Poomphat Sarapisitphat from Chiang Mai FC. His long throws will still cause havoc in some defenses. On the other flank, Weerawut Kayem joins from Suphanburi with plenty of T1 experience.
Midfielder Nyein Chan Aung is one of a growing number of Myanmar players coming to the Thai League. He was previously with Yangon United.
Evandro Paulista, ex Chiang Mai United and Police Tero, adds some power up front alongside Apdussalam Saman, who joins on loan from the Fire Dragons.
The club has ambition – and it would be good to see one of Thailand’s most southerly teams battling for promotion to T1.
Phrae United have been a playoff side the last two seasons. They will likely be there again – although not unreasonably fans would like a top 2 finish.
There is a core group of players from last season with depth provided by a number of new squad players. Carlos remains at centre back alongside Arsan Phengbanrai; both were almost ever present last season. Marlon Silva has arrived from Muangkan to strengthen the defense.
Center forward Rodrigo Maranhao, who scored 17 last season, is joined by Elivélton who returns to Phrae after almost three years playing in his homeland. They will again be supported by Taku Ito, who will create opportunities from the left wing.
Phrae look to have replaced like with like for the new season and should again be competing for a play-off position.
Part 3 will take us from Rajpracha to Uthai Thani.