A new face will be on the bench for the Cambodian national team very soon, to replace Scott O'Donell (center). Photo: nicksellsphotographyI have it on good authority that the new Cambodian national football coach will be announced fairly shortly, certainly in good time before the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying tournament takes place in October. More on the Suzuki Cup later. The new man at the helm will definitely be from South Korea, or the Korea Republic as its recognised by FIFA. There's no name in the frame yet as the Cambodian football federation are waiting to hear from their Korean counterparts as to who they are putting forward as their chosen candidate. The agreement between the two countries also goes higher than the two federations and the appointment will reflect the growing friendship between the Cambodian and Korean governments. In addition, South Korea will be paying the new coach's wages. There is also a determination by the FFC to get the backroom staff in place before the new coach is appointed and that is also taking shape.
It won't be the first time that a South Korean has taken charge of the national team. Yoo Kee-Heung was hired as the coach in December 2007 as part of a sponsorship deal but he was fired seven months later after a string of poor results and the discovery that he wasn't suitably qualified. Homegrown Prak Sovannara, currently in charge of league leaders Naga Corp, was the next to take on the job for a year before Aussie Scott O'Donell returned for his second spell in June of last year. Scott decided not to stay longer than his one-year contract hence the need for a new coach. The Suzuki Cup qualifiers will be in Laos during October where Cambodia will battle alongside Laos, Philippines and Timor Leste for two spots in the finals, to be held in Indonesia and Vietnam in December. With the Metfone C-League due to come to a close at the end of August, the new national coach will have the month of September and half of October to prepare his squad for the qualifying matches. Two World Cup qualifiers were also originally due to take place in October, but have been put back to the middle of 2011. I await developments with interest.