BANGKOK, July 7, Powerhouse Thailand hardly lost any sweat to retain the men's team event after easily beating arch-rival Malaysia 2-0 in a lop-sided Thai King's Cup sepaktakraw final here Tuesday.
Displaying better skill and experience, the Thais easily disposed Malaysia, winners of the tournament in 1984 and 1988.
Thailand picked up their first point when their top trio Suebsak Phunsueb, Suriyan Poacharn and Pornchai Kaonkaen took just 42 minutes to beat Ahmad Sufi Mohammed Hashim, Norshahruddin Mad Ghani and Farhan Adam 21-12, 21-11 in straight sets.
Whatever hopes the Malaysians had to try and level the tie, was dashed when Kraingkrai Kaewmean, Patarapong Yupadee and Anuwat Chaichana overpowered Mohd Syazuan Husin, Mohd Shaifullah Mohamed Nor and Zulhafizazuddin Rosslan 21-9, 21-14 in another lop-sided affair.
With the defeat, the national side, preparing for the December SEA Games in Laos, finished empty handed in the 20-nation tournament when Ahmad Sufi, Norshahruddin and Zulhahizazudin also lost the inter-regu final to Indonesian trio Yudi Purnomo, Wisnu Dewi and Suko Hartono earlier.
The disparity in sepaktakraw prowess between the two countries was obvious in the final today, as Thailand were supreme with their killer services, good control and lethal finishing while the Malaysians struggled to find their footing.
National coach Haris Abdul Rahman said his charges lacked mental strength and gave too much respect for their opponents.
"I am disappointed with their performances today...they were nervous and played without confidence. The service was poor and lacked sharpness," he said.
According to him, the players lacked the necessary international exposure to match the mighty Thais, who among others, paraded players with 10 to 15 years of experience.
Haris said the team needed to train harder for the SEA Games as they would be facing not only Thailand but much improved teams like Indonesia and Myanmar, whilst the pool of good players at home remains limited.
"We have 15 more players in the national squad. I will monitor their performance during training and see if they can be included in the SEA Games team," he said.