Lesser lights shine as Thailand look to finish the job and claim record 6th AFF Suzuki Cup

It is no surprise that Thailand's quest for a record-extending 6th AFF Suzuki Cup title has been by the usual suspects.

Two-time tournament Most Valuable Player Chanathip Songkrasin and the competition's all-time top scorer Teerasil Dangda have both led the way in attack with four goals each, while stalwarts such as Theerathon Bunmathan and Sarach Yooyen have also been pivotal.

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But as the Thais look to get the job done in Saturday's final second leg against Indonesia at Singapore's National Stadium, having claimed a 4-0 aggregate lead in Wednesday's first leg, some of the less-illustrious names have also shined as brightly.

At just 22, Kritsada Kaman has been one of the best defenders of the tournament despite usually playing in midfield at club level, while Weerathep Pomphan -- only made his international debut at the competition -- was outstanding on Wednesday, initially in midfield and then as an auxiliary centre-back after Thailand lost Elias Dolah through injury.

The impact the next generation has made was not lost on Thailand coach Alexandre Polking, who believes winning the Suzuki Cup should only be the start for greater achievements in the future.

"This is very important, especially if we want to always be number one in the region. It's not only for now but for that continuity," said Polking.

"Of course now we have the benefit of players who are very experienced but I also see a great generation for the future. I don't want us to just win the Suzuki Cup and be done.

"I don't like to single out players but someone like Weerathep has produced two amazing games as an international debutant, and also if you see the performances of someone like Kritsada, who is not even playing in the position he usually does -- he's unbelievable and he's only 22.

"We have a lot of young players so there's a good mix in the team and we hope we can continue this journey that we've started but the absolute focus first is to have a good match tomorrow (Saturday) and finish the job. When that's done, we can say we really played a good tournament and that we're satisfied."

Thailand's cause has certainly been aided by the presence of nine players who have previously tasted success in the competition, with the War Elephants having claimed back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2016 before Vietnam won the last edition.

And although Weerathep has more than held his own, he admits it helps to have the old guard around.

"It was always my dream to be involved with the Thai national team and now I'm here," said the Muangthong United man.

"With the help of players like Chanathip, Teerasil, Sarach and Theerathon, I have learnt a lot. Whatever role the coach wants me to help to do, I'm happy to do.

"I'm glad that we're here and I hope we will achieve the success we are after."