Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Courting controversy

The new Cambodian national team coach, South Korean Lee Tae-Hoon, has made the first choices of his new regime by selecting 25 players from a training squad of 38, to travel to Vietnam today, and already he is courting controversy. The month and a half in Vietnam will give the new coach the opportunity to put his new squad through their paces - he is said to believe they are only 60% fit - before they go to Laos for the important AFF Suzuki Cup matches in the second half of October. However, out of the reckoning, at least as far as the trip to Vietnam is concerned, are a who's-who of the country's best players. They include the country's best keeper Samreth Seiha (pictured), defenders Om Thavrak, Sun Sovanrithy and Thong Udom, midfielders Oum Kumpheak, Prak Mony Udom, Pok Chanthan and winger Nov Soseila, whilst up front the national team will have to do without Teab Vathanak and Chan Chhaya. All of them were in previous squads announced by the former coach Scott O'Donell, except teenager Thong Udom. I think Seiha may be carrying an injury, I hope so as he's the best stopper we have. Of the 25 being taken to train at the home of V-Leaguers Hoang Anh Gia Lai, there are a few surprises, not least keeper Peng Bunchhay, who I thought had an average season for Phnom Penh Crown, eight players from the Army side that experienced such an appalling second half of the season and players like Nuth Sinoun and Tum Saray who spent large portions of the last campaign on the bench. Of the players originally announced for the training squad, the players highlighted in blue and in italics have been dropped from the squad that will be in Vietnam. The schedule for the national team in Vietnam has not been announced but it's understood they will play a series of friendly matches as part of their Suzuki Cup preparation.
Goalkeepers: Samreth Seiha, Sou Yaty, Peng Bunchhay, Ouk Mic.
Defenders: Rang Borin, Pheak Rady, Khek Khemarin, Nhim Sovanara, Rim Bunhieng, Touch Sokheng, Sos Nasiet, Tieng Tiny, Chan Dara, Sok Rithy, Lay Raksmey, San Narith, Thul Sothearith.
Midfielders: Sun Sopanha, Ieng Piseth, Soung Vireak, Phuong Soksana, Prum Putsethy, Chhun Sothearath, In Vichheka, Kim Chanbunrith, Sok Chanrasmey, Tum Saray, Khuon Laboravy, Samuth Dalin.
Forwards: Khim Borey, Kuoch Sokumpheak, Sin Dalin, Nuth Sinoun, Teab Vathanak, Keo Sokngorn, Sok Pheng, Kop Isa, Long Nasy.

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