The Chonburi Football Association has recruited the trio and their move could well be a masterstroke as they seek to establish Vision Thailand-Project Chonburi as the benchmark development program.
Project Chonburi is breaking new ground for the CFA because it is the first time a entirely new provincial football association is being created for the sake of Vision Asia.
In addition, new clubs are being created for the sole purpose of playing in the Vision Chonburi League (VCL) under the key drivers of CFA President Wittaya Kunplome and General Secretary Thanasak Suraprasert.
Under the guidance of AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam – the “Father of Vision Asia”, the inaugural VCL was finally launched on October 23, 2010.
Key members of the launch were Mohamed Basir, Nazreen Banu and "Joe" Patit Suphaphongs. Basir was a former AFC Vision Asia Development Officer while Nazreen worked in the Women’s Department. Joe, until July 2010, was Creative Manager of the AFC Website Department.
Basir now has the important role of heading the development process as Education and Vision Asia Director while Nazreen, Basir’s wife, is Head of Match Commissioners.
Thai national Joe is Business Development Director.
Basir was among the pioneers who helped launched Vision Asia in 2003 when he was with AFC. Now, he is keen to use his experience to help the CFA.
“I was very impressed with CFA's organization, the set-up and the youth development, on top of that, the right leadership here,” the Singaporean said.
“After I left AFC, I was looking for a new challenge in which I could contribute with football education and Chonburi was the obvious choice for me. And it rightly proved so.
“The potential here is amazing in terms of player and coach development. The leadership shown by the local association, local government and individual businessmen is very positive.
We have people who have a hunger for this knowledge and information.
“Now, we have sorted out administration and government issues and have recognition as an FA. We also have our own building, facilities to run courses, whether for referees or coaching, and a bunch of capable people in administration. Of course, through education and training, we can do much more than what we have done now.”
Nazreen, an ex-Singapore women’s national player and former FAS Head of Women's Department, is only with CFA on a short-term basis for the time being because of commitments in Singapore and her role as an AFC Match Commissioner.
But she is excited about working with her husband to take Chonburi football to new heights.
She said: “I hope to be on board and fully involved with CFA by next year. For me, sustainability and full commitment is necessary if you want to achieve something.
"As a wife, I do need to take care of my husband and be with him all the time too. Whether it is good times or bad times, we need to go through these things together."
A university graduate in San Jose, Joe is hoping to fulfill his potential and take Chonburi football forward.
“Although I was born and bred in Bangkok, Chonburi is always in my heart as this city is only next to the capital.
“I didn’t have second thoughts about joining CFA when the President (Wittaya) approached me after I left AFC,” he said.
"I always liked Chonburi's football policy, which focuses on the grassroots and youth development more than any other program in Thailand.
“Our grassroots and youth development program is one of the best and also the earliest in Thailand.”
He said 70 per cent of Chonburi FC players are products of their own academy and they want to churn out even more talent in the future.
Joe added: “It's a historic moment to see all the hard work has turned to reality with the launching of VCL.
“Having said that, it is only a start and we haven't achieved anything yet. But I, like everyone else in CFA, believe strongly that we are heading in the right direction."
Wittaya best sums up the CFA’s goals.
“The historic creation of CFA is the first of its kind in Thailand but definitely not the last. As a Thai, I hope that this landmark decision will be the major factor in the professionalization of football in the entire kingdom.
“Vision Asia has given us new directions, goals, resources, challenges and motivation to develop the game further.
"Together, let’s grow the game. This mission is possible, if you believe."
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