Five-time champions and current holders of the AFF Suzuki Cup Thailand will be looking to retain their crown when the tournament commences, though they may have to do it without some of their stars.OverviewThe title holders will enter the showdown without Kawin Thammasatchanan (OHL), Teerasil Dangda (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Teerathon Bunmathan (Vissel Kobe) and Chanathip Songkrasin (Consadole Sapporo), as their club won’t allow them to join this non FIFA day competition. Then it’s all down to coach Milovan Rajevac to find alternatives. Rajevac has decided to give those who performed well in the Thai League a chance, be it young hot prospects or veterans. Now the Serbian has a solid squad that may not as flashy as 2 years ago, but definitely hard to beat. Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! SquadGK: Siwarak Tedsungnoen, Chatchai Budprom, Saranon AnuinDF: Pansa Hemviboon, Chalermpong Kerdkaew, Philip Roller, Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri, Manuel Bihr, Mika Chunuonsee, Suphan Thongsong, Kevin DeeromramMF: Pokklaw Anan, Tanaboon Kesarat, Sanrawat Dechmitr, Thitipan Puangchan, Sumanya Purisai, Nurul Sriyankem, Pakorn Prempak, Sasalak HaiprakhonFW: Mongkol Tossakrai, Adisak Kraisorn, Chananan Pombuppha, Supachai JaidedCoach profileMilovan Rajevac is a coach with plenty of experience, as he has coached in Europe, Africa, and also Asia. He led Ghana through an unbeaten qualification campaign allowing the African side to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.For a year and a half with Thailand, he moulded them into a team with solid defending and better discipline while making sure the War Elephants were fast and sharp on the counter attack. It’s safe to say that the current AFF Suzuki Cup champions have become a much more mature side under him.For Rajevac his true test awaits in the Asian Cup 2019, but this AFF Cup can also be a test for the Serbian since the expectation will be nothing less but to retain the title, with or without top stars.Playing styleThailand’s chief problem under Kiatisuk Senamuang’s was a leaky defence. The first priority for Rajevac was to fix that and he seems to have sorted it out.’Chang Seuk’ became way more disciplined under a 4-2-3-1 defensive system that made them hard to beat, hitting hard with their fast breaks. But in their last 2 friendlies, they were surprisingly good in a 4-3-3 formation and that could be their modus operand in the AFF Championships.Also the midfield area for Thailand is now filled with creative minds like Sumanya Purisay, Sanrawat Dechmitr, Pokklao Anan. Arguably the best defensive midfielder Tanaboon Kesarat has also now return from injury and is ready to be deployed.On the front, Rajevac will have veteran Adisak Kraisorn and also young guns like Supachai Jaided to choose from.
SASKATOON – Federal Liberal officials say the ruling party is in good shape as it approaches the one-year countdown to the next election — even if the Conservatives have raised more money and nominated more candidates.Azam Ishmael, the Liberals’ national director, and party president Suzanne Cowan gave a report on the party’s election readiness Wednesday to Liberal MPs attending a caucus retreat ahead of next week’s resumption of Parliament.A note prepared by the party says the Liberals’ online fundraising scored its best July ever and its best August in a non-election year.Moreover, the party now has more monthly grassroots donors than at any time in its history, and more than 15,000 people have signed up recently as volunteers. Over the summer, the party organized 579 “summer of action” events across the country, knocking on doors and talking to voters.The grassroots mobilization is proceeding “at a faster pace than we’ve ever seen this far ahead of an election campaign,” the note says.As well, 25 Liberal MPs, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have been nominated as candidates for the next election, plus one new contender.By contrast, the Conservatives have nominated some 100 candidates for the country’s 338 ridings thus far.And while the Tories continue to rake in money hand over fist — $12.1 million in the first six months of 2018, compared to $6.4 million pulled in by the Liberals — Ishmael says those comparisons are misleading.“I think you need to look at the actual truth on fundraising. It’s not about the gross amount of dollars that are raised, it’s about what’s left in your pocket,” Ishmael said in an interview.The Conservatives, he said, are spending twice as much to raise twice as much as the Liberals. In terms of money available to spend on pre-election organizing, he said the real gap between the two parties is just $500,000.Similarly, Ishmael said the nomination numbers are misleading.The Liberal party has declared that all 183 of its MPs will be acclaimed without having to win nomination contests in their ridings — provided they meet certain fundraising, membership and voter engagement targets by Oct. 1. Ishmael said the vast majority are expected to meet those targets, so their nominations are effectively formalities.Some MPs, he added, are deliberately holding off on their nominations, choosing to time their acclamations closer to the election for strategic reasons.“We’re feeling in good shape, our team is in good shape, both on the ground and here — our caucus team,” said Cowan.“So, I’m feeling very optimistic about where we’re at.”