Tiger Tales in the Championship 2022-2023

Season Opening Party – 8 August 2022

The question of the hour is whether our tagline is ‘The Tiger’s Time’ or ‘The Tigers’ Time’? For now the club are using the former. While I have sleepless nights.

Match reports:


17 September 2022 Phrae United 1 CMFC 2 Here we Bo
10 September 2022 CMFC 0 Rayong FC 2 Veni, Vidi, Vici, Boggy. (They came; they saw; they conquered; they played in a bog.)
5 September 2022 Nakhon Si United 1 CMFC 0 The Wanderley effect
26 August 2022 Uthai Thani 1 CMFC 3 Looking good
21 August 2022 CMFC 0 Nakhon Pathom United 0 Toothless Tigers
14 August 2022 Ranong United 1 CMFC 1 Deserved better

Season Preview:

A profile of the new CMFC coach – Mr Football~

And my CMFC preview for the new season:

Reasons to be cheerful….

The new Thai League 2 season kicks off this Friday.

After two long seasons that were blighted by Covid the new season will start on time and no club has yet announced restrictions on the number of supporters who may attend. Fingers remain crossed that common sense prevails and everyone is made welcome.

With the removal of the Covid quarantine restrictions we will also see a good number of foreign players coming to Thailand for the first time.

There are six new clubs in the League – the three relegated from T1 are Suphanburi, Chiang Mai United and Samut Prakan City. The three promoted sides from T3 are Krabi FC, Nakhon Si United and Uthai Thani, who return after just one season in T3.

After two difficult seasons for CMFC fans it does appear that owners and management have made a genuine commitment to rebuilding the club with a combination of new players and the return of some of last year’s most promising loan players from BGPU.

However, with twelve of the squad on loan from BGPU it is clear where the money and influence lies and there will always be questions such as whether loan players are available for the full season and what longer-term objectives BGPU has for the club.

The catch with being a loan player is that you are serving three masters, yourself and your own career, the coach of the club that you are playing for, and the dream of being called back to contribute to the success of your parent club. It is at least one master, or mistress, too many.

At some stage for CMFC, and any other feeder club, to succeed the club needs its own identity and long-term sustainability.

CMFC will also start the season playing their home matches at the Municipal Stadium as Chiang Mai United and Lamphun Warriors have claimed the 700th anniversary stadium.

Lamphun are scheduled to return to their Municipal Stadium in October. Will CMFC the return to the 700th? That remains uncertain.

The concern for Chiang Mai, as it was last season, is where will the goals come from?

Seiya Sugishita top- scored last season with just seven. Danilo, Evgeny Kabaev and Sugishita (to Rayong) have all left the club.

Patrick Gustavsson returns on loan from BGPU. He will have had valuable experience over the summer with Thailand’s under-23 squad. He has the pace and strength but needs to become a regular goalscorer.

Stênio Júnior (recruited from FK Partizani in Tirana) is likely to start alongside Gustavsson. Stênio left Brazil to play in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Latvia and Albania. Chiang Mai must feel a bit more like home. 18 goals in 49 games for FK Partizani is form that Chiang Mai fans would like to see replicated.

Width may come from left -winger Bo Yong Kim, from FK Turon, who was previously playing in Yaypan, Uzbekistan.

Our second Korean is Chang Kyoon Im, an attacking midfield player who was a near ever-present for Udon Thani last season.

On the right side of midfield we should see Singaporean international Rhyhan Stewart (yes, he is half Welsh) who has joined from Garena Young Lions. Training reports are that he is a very impressive young player.

Also back on loan are Tawan Khotrsupho and Pongrawit Jantawong; with a little more experience both should be ready to make a consistent impact this season.

In defense man-mountain Veljko Filipovic starts his second season at Chiang Mai; ex-club captain Suwannaphat Kingkaew returns on loan from BGPU. Centre back Mustakim Yusoh has joined from Khon Kaen FC.

Narupon Wild has been released. His willing support of this page was always very welcome.

A late addition is Suwit Paipromet on loan from Khon Kaen United (thanks, Carlos!); Suwit made a big contribution at Lamphun in the second half of last season.

The first choice goalkeeper will presumably be Kiadtiphon Udom, again on loan from BGPU. Fahas Bilanglod who made a number of appearances for CMFC in the first half of last season has also returned.

There is plenty of reason for Chiang Mai fans to be optimistic about the new season. The squad came together early and has been training together in Bangkok under new coach Jun Fukuda.

Fukuda-san has been in Thailand for a year as Assistant Manager (alongside Masatada Ishii) at Buriram Utd and before that Academy Manager at Samut Prakan City.

He spent three years as Manager of Lao Toyota and before that managed FC Ulaanbaatar.

Of course as soon as they came back to Chiang Mai a number of players and staff contracted or had to isolate for Covid; hopefully all will be fit for the season opener at Ranong.

CMFC play three of their first four games away from home. Ranong (14/8); Uthai Thani (26/8) and NakhonSi United (4/9).

The first home game is against Nakhon Pathom (21/8) followed by Rayong (10/9).

Just quickly – who are the other contenders in T2.

Through gritted teeth Chiang Mai United look to be the team to beat. They have retained much of their squad after a very difficult season in T1. Ronnapee, Evson and Sirisak remain in defense. The old Bill continues his loan from Chiang Rai United and alongside Melvin de Leeuw they could be the goal scoring partnership to watch in T2.

The two local derbies could be very entertaining affairs.

Suphanburi, also relegated from T1, have basically built a new squad with T2 experience including a number of players from Muangkan United.

NakhonSi are the promoted club most likely to repeat the success of Lamphun Warriors. And coach Wanderley who led Lamphun to promotion has become assistant to Jorge Steinebrunner. Aleks Kapisoda (Udon Thani) and Poomphat (Meedech) Sarapisitphat (Chiang Mai FC) are notable signings in defence. Evandro Paulista (once of the other Chiang Mai team) will add power up front.

Trat have released Conrado and Babo; replaced by Joao Paulo and Taua. There are rumours that coach Somchai Chuayboonchum has already resigned suggesting that all may not be well in the Trat camp. However, it is hard to see them being anything other than competitive.

At the bottom of the table. Ranong have released their two African centre halves, Nzola and Marochee. Even with the benefits of home advantage in the monsoon weather it is hard to see Ranong staying up.

Samut Prakan City has become a feeder club to Chonburi who have sent a number of youthful loan players. But this sadly now seems to be a club lacking ambition and resources. They could be this year’s Navy.

Of the promoted sides Krabi look the weakest, relying in large part on their T3 squad from last season.

All of this will become much clearer in about nine months’ time.

Enjoy the game.