With the season opener fast approaching I think it is time to reflect on Futera United’s pre-season. The most important thing to work on in pre-season is obviously fitness but being a brand new team it was also important to mold a group of individuals into a team and for Coach Den and his assistants to implement their style of play. Training commenced on the 16th February with the team training twice a week.
After only two weeks training Futera United were to play their first match against Petcharawut FC. This would be a good test as Petcharawut will be in our division in the Bangkok Premier this year. The game finished 2-2 but i thought, although i may be biased, that we were much the better side. A couple of goalkeeping errors allowed Petcharawut to scrape a draw they barely deserved. We played well but our final delivery certainly needed to be worked on. Coach Den was fairly pleased with the overall performance but hinted that there were things they would work on in training.
Our second friendly was originally to be against Thonburi FC but due to several of their players contracting COVID a match was hastily arranged against a Bangkok Representative side, containing a former Thai international and also a number of players who had played at a high standard in Thailand. After a cautious start Futera United clicked into gear and looked a formidable team running out 4-2 winners. The pleasing thing was that we looked a real team and so much better than the previous week. Our fitness really showed in the latter stages of the match and you could see that the team had been working hard in training.
After such an impressive performance I was starting to get a bit carried away dreaming of Asian Champions league. Our next fixture was against Police Ladkrapang. Police were a young team with plenty of running in them. In a crazy game we ran out 5-2 winners, although we should have scored more, Police however also had a number of chances and both our keepers were called upon to make fine saves. A great game for the spectator but a little concerning that we got caught out on numerous occasions with quick counters from the opposition. Victories are always good for morale but also plenty to work on in training.
EGY Thai FC were up next and they would be our toughest test. EGY Thai are in division 2, whereas we will be in division 4, so this would give us a good idea where we need to be. Technically EGY Thai were very good but Futera ran all over them in the opening stages, harrying and pressing which created numerous chances. We looked a real cohesive unit and EGY Thai resorted to trying to kick us off the park. We took the lead with a fine free kick but EGY Thai showed their quality with a quality response. Futera continued to take the game to EGY Thai and hit the bar on 3 occasions. The team were playing incredibly well and I thought EGY Thai would be fortunate to get a draw. In the 94th minute a lapse of concentration allowed EGY Thai to head in a winner they really did not deserve. Although we lost we had performed very well and showed we could compete at that level.
Each week I have seen the team improve, fitness levels, shape, attacking play, we really do look a good team with some exceptional players. Players that have impressed are Film in goal, shoe in for our number 1. John at right back, great engine can get up and down and a real eye for a goal. Our two young centre backs Owen and Poom will only get better. M is an experienced player who can talk the young guys through games, he also has a lovely left foot and has set up a number of chances with his long raking diagonal balls. We have a wealth of talent in the midfield with the strength of Fofana and the vision and guile of Don and Jew.
Also 17 year old Poo looks an amazing player, great balance, such an elegant player and a great free kick goal to boot. On the left we have Bobo who looks class but also Bank who after originally being discarded in the trials has returned and against EGY Thai his pace scared them to death. On the right we have Mai who I feel is underrated, he works his socks off for the team and also has an eye for goal. The centre forward position is a tough one for me, I don’t think any of our strikers have been that good that they are certain starters. Gael has electrifying pace that will cause problems to any side and Gao Emmanuel has looked great in flashes but I thought he didn’t look great against EGY Thai, although he was returning from injury. We also have the young lad Poom competing for the striker position.
With our first game of the season on Sunday I am very confident we will do extremely well. The team is well prepared physically and tactically and I think we will be the team to beat in division 4. This is going to be an amazing journey and I can’t wait for Sunday!