Sports Features of Tue, 17 Oct 20178
Seal Milovan Rajevac future before it's too late
Thailand under Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac ended their 2017 campaign on a high note earlier this month with two successive friendly wins-3-1 against Myanmar in Mandalay and 1-0 against Kenya in Bangkok.
In 10 matches this year, Thailand had three wins, two draws and five losses, scoring 10 goals and conceding 15.
The Thais suffered two of the defeats -- 3-0 against Saudi Arabia and 4-0 against Japan in the World Cup qualifying round -- when Kiatisak "Zico" Senamuang was coach.
Kiatisak quit as coach of the War Elephants after the defeats as Rajevac, 63, began his Thailand reign in May.
Rajevac's Thailand had three wins, two draws and three losses, scoring 10 goals and conceding eight.
Rajevac got off to a losing start as Thailand coach when they lost 2-0 to Uzbekistan in an away warm-up game.
But the loss may be forgiven judging from the fact that he had to hastily assemble a squad without players from Thai League 1 champions SCG Muang Thong United.
In Thailand's first competitive match under the Serb, the Thais drew 1-1 with the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup qualifier in Bangkok.
They then won the King's Cup in Bangkok after beating North Korea 3-0 and defeating Belarus on penalties in the final following a scoreless draw.
After the success, the War Elephants completed their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-1 home loss to Iraq and 2-1 loss to Australia in Melbourne.
Thailand finished their 2017 campaign with wins over Myanmar and Kenya.
As a defender during his playing days, Rajevac's urgent task was to strengthen Thailand's defence.
The defence improved considerably as Thailand did not concede more than two goals in a single match.
But Rajevac still has to improve Thailand's strike force.
It is certainly a mammoth task as it seems Thailand currently have only one out-and-out striker in Teerasil Dangda.
The Muang Thong United star scored two goals, both coming in friendlies, one each against Myanmar and Kenya.
Teerathep Winothai was the only other striker to have found the back of the net for Rajevac's War Elephants.
Rajevac recalled the Bangkok United player to the national team for the first time in three years and it seems he was not very impressed with his performance.