Thailand midfielder Charyl Chappuis says he's "happy" after earning a recall to the national side for next month's World Cup qualifiers, which he rates as one of the highlights of his year.
The 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup hero joins Kiatisuk Senamuang's squad for next Thursday's friendly in Qatar and the Group B matches away to Saudi Arabia and at home to Japan at the beginning of September. It ends a 20-month injury-enforced exile
The Suphanburi man sat out the whole of 2015 and the early part of 2016 due to a knee problem but his long-awaited first steps back came in April of this year when he played a few minutes of a friendly for his club. He was soon back in the first-team squad and completed his first full match in Suphanburi's victory over Chiang Rai United at the end of June.
Just three weeks ago, he netted twice in a league match in another sign of his return to form, convincing the Thailand head coach that it was not too soon for a recall.
Chappuis admits that the call-up was not expected but that he had secretly been hoping for it.
A photo posted by Charyl Chappuis (@charyl10) on
"I didn't expect anything after such a long time out injured," he told ESPN FC. "But since it was confirmed that we would play World Cup qualifiers in September, it was always my goal to be in the squad. To achieve this goal, I have given everything and worked hard so I am really happy that it has worked out so well but there is still a long way to go."
While the return to the national fold is another huge step in his complete recovery, the Swiss-Thai star insists that just making his comeback on the pitch has been the most important thing.
"I have to say that I'm really happy just to be playing," said Chappuis. "That's the best feeling, so to actually be playing again is the highlight of the year for me. But, of course, this call-up is also one of the highlights."
Kiatisuk generally keeps faith with the men who have brought his side this far. But Bangkok United midfielder Sanrawat Dechmitr misses out with an injury.
However, the Thais will be happy to welcome back Buriram United defender Koravit Namwiset, who was injured for June's King's Cup games. Striker Sirroch Chattong gets his first call-up as back-up to established stars Teerasil Dangda and Adisak Kraisron. Sirroch currently plies his trade with Thailand's Division league leaders Ubon UMT United but the 23-year-old's selection is the only real surprise in an otherwise experienced group of players.
War Elephants' fans will be hoping that the heroes that topped their group in the previous qualifying phase will be ready to surpass their achievements so far. And they will also be delighted to welcome back stylish midfielder Chappuis after such a long absence.