The Thailand Amateur League (TA) is Thailand’s largest amateur competition with 253 teams nationwide vying for the chance to compete in the professional T3 division. For Futera United a team formed less than six months ago to be involved is an incredible achievement and everybody involved should be immensely proud.
The excitement began when the, rather convoluted, televised draw saw Futera drawn in the Metropolitan Region, amongst 22 other clubs, and placed in group C alongside established teams Wang Noi City and Sing Ubon. The 30th April 2022 was a historic day for Futera United as they took to the pitch, at the impressive Kasem Bundit University Stadium, for their first ever venture in the TA.
Their opponents Sing Ubon had played the previous day and had narrowly lost 2-1 to Wang Noi City so this would be a stern test for the young Futera United side. Sporting their new sponsor ‘One37pm’ emblazoned across their striking pink away kit Futera put in an incredible performance, full of pace and technical ability and ran out with a resounding 11-0 victory. Bank made history by becoming the first scorer of a hat-trick for Futera United and Don’s exquisite ‘Cantonesque’ was the pick of the goals. The manner and margin of our win sent shock waves through the rest of the teams in the Bangkok regions, Futera United were a team to watch out for.
Less than 24 hours later Futera were back in action for the decider to see who would win the group and progress through to the next round. Our opponents Wang Noi City had an advantage by having a full day's rest prior to this crucial game. Wang Noi’s young side looked pensive as they walked out onto the lush Kasem Bundit turf, I’m sure they were aware of the previous day's thrashing of Sing Ubon.
As expected Futera started confidently and dominated possession in the opening stages and the pacy Bank opened the scoring on 13 minutes. Futera’s skipper Jew scored an unbelievable 40 yard free-kick to make the half time score 2-0 and ease the Futera supporters' nerves. The second half saw Futera in cruise control and they knocked the ball about nonchalantly before adding to the score with a penalty from ‘Mr Reliable’ John and a brace from the incredibly gifted Phu. The final score ended 5-0 and Futera United were into the quarter-final.
Futera’s opponents, for what would be the biggest and toughest game in their history, would be Dome FC, considered by many to be Thailand’s best amateur side. Futera United and their raucous supporters returned to the Kasem Bundit Stadium on a steamy Sunday hoping to upset the more experienced Dome. A big miss for Futera was the absence of Mai and Bank through injury, and it was a somewhat makeshift front three that kicked off. The opening exchanges were fairly even, but you could see that Dome was a quality well drilled outfit. Futera broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when Diw dispossessed the Dome left back to expertly chip the keeper from almost 30 yards. Dome hit back instantly and only an absolute ‘worldy’ save from Film kept Futera ahead.
The half-time whistle blew with Futera holding a slender lead and their supporters daring to dream of a semi-final. In the second half Dome showed their class and continually pinned back Futera deep in their own half, however for all their possession they failed to create many clear cut chances. With six minutes remaining, a free kick was swung in from the left and the Dome centre forward unmarked headed into the net to equalise. The sense of relief on the Dome bench was clearly visible as they celebrated ecstactically. The game finished 1-1, so Futera’s fate would be decided by a penalty shoot out. After both teams successfully scored opening penalties, Dome’s second was saved by Film.
With both teams converting their next penalties, Futera held the advantage and Jew had the opportunity to win the game. His well struck shot to the bottom left hand side of the goal was excellently saved by the Dome keeper, a former PSW Academy protege. As both teams prepared for sudden death the nervous tension was unbearable. After Ter had coolly slotted home to make the scores 5-5 Dome went ahead again and upstepped Bobo whose effort was well saved by the keeper to end Futera’s dreams.
Although bitterly disappointed to lose in the cruelest of fashions we should all be immensely proud of what Futera United achieved. Dome FC were founded in 2013 and were the pre-tournament favourites and Futera United formed less than six months ago ran them agonisingly close. This was a great experience for all involved with Futera United and I can confidently predict we will be back stronger next year. The Futera United journey is far from over and this unique project continues to go from strength to strength.