News just out from Asian Football Confederation has paired Cambodia's national football team with Macau, to be played on a home and away basis in February 2011, to see who will qualify for the 16-team group phase of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup competition. The eight lowest-ranked teams out of 20 that have entered the Cup, will play off on a two-legged basis and the four winners will qualify for the group stage. Whilst Cambodia will lock horns against Macau in the play-offs to be played on February 9 and 16 2011, Bhutan will meet Afghanistan, the Philippines will take on Mongolia and Chinese Taipei will face Laos. The defending Challenge Cup champions are DPR Korea.
In the last qualifying competition held in April 2009, Cambodia lost 1-0 to Bangladesh and 1-0 to qualifiers Myanmar though we did beat Macau 2-1. The previous year, in May 2008, Cambodia, despite having home advantage, also failed to make it out of the qualifying group stage when they went down 1-0 to Nepal, who went through, though we did record a 3-1 success over Macau. If Cambodia achieves qualification, they will enter the group stage alongside Tajikistan, Maldives and Kyrgyzstan in Group C, to be played in March 2011.