And the more successful Thais have an advice for Malaysia - do not let one team dominate in the league.
Bangkok United coach Alexandre Polking said Malaysia can join the same league as the Thais if there were more competitive teams and better infrastructure.
“The league should not be the ‘Johor’ (Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT)) league. It makes the competition difficult,” said the 43-year-old Brazilian-German coach, who used to work under former Thailand coach Winfried Schafer.
“Most of the national team players are in Selangor. However, if you start to have one outstanding player, he goes to Johor.
“It makes it hard for other teams because they invest a lot every year.
“The league should not rely on two to three teams to fight against JDT, but other teams should have the belief that they can be competitive in the league.
“Malaysia do have many young talents, the clubs should nurture them to make their team competitive.”
Polking, who is fondly known as Mano by his peers, said teams in the league should run their respective organisations professionally.
He said teams in Thailand have excellent organisations even though some teams struggle to have full crowd in stadiums due to live streaming of matches on social media platforms.
“Every team in the competition must be transparent with their goals, build good infrastructure and have a good recruitment process.
“Malaysia have more fans than in Thailand and good stadiums, but the pitches can be better.
“Malaysia are using old grass, which is not suitable for modern football. When it rains, it won’t be very easy to play,” he added.
Many players in the Southeast Asian region aim to play in the Thai League, thanks to its stature in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club competition ranking.
Ranked eighth in the region, players from Singapore, Myanmar, Laos and even Malaysia are eyeing to play for the top clubs there like Bangkok United, Muangthong United, Buriram United and Chiangrai United.
Recently, national centreback Dominic Tan left JDT to join Police Tero while veteran national striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha signed for BG Pathum United.
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