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By ESPN Staff

Thaksin to pay for coach to help Thai team

BANGKOK, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Manchester City's billionaire Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra plans to hire a European coach to help his country's national team, Thai media reported on Friday.

Thaksin, the ousted former Thai prime minister, said he would put up the cash for a European coach or a trainer from City's academy to work alongside national team boss Charnwit Polcheewin.

'His salary must not be too expensive but I will pay the costs,' Thaksin told Thai reporters in Manchester.'We have agents who will help us look for (a coach).'

Thaksin, who bought City for £81million last July while in exile in London, has promised to help Thailand, southeast Asia's most successful team, qualify for their first World Cup finals.

They have reached the third round of qualifiers for the 2010 tournament and begin their campaign against Japan on Feb. 6.

The Thai squad are currently training with City for the second time in as many months, with one of Thaksin's foundations picking up the tab for the players, coaches and a dozen Thai reporters.

Thaksin's critics accuse him of using soccer to boost his profile back home and revive a political career he insists is over.