Thursday, January 27, 2011

3pm on the 9th - be there

Coach Lee Tae-Hoon (white shirt) giving instructions to his squad before a recent friendly game
The Cambodian national team are currently preparing for the first leg of their AFC Challenge Cup qualification tie against Macau, to be played at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on Wednesday 9 February, with a 3pm kick-off time. The squad are undergoing strict training preparation under South Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon at the national training center at Cheng Meng, though the last sixteen round matches of the Hun Sen Cup have caused some disruption to the coach's rigid schedule. With less than two weeks before this vital must-win qualifier, the coach is still leaving the door open for anyone that stands out in the Hun Sen Cup matches, the last of which are played this weekend. He was also keen to involve three players who are now parading their football talents in Thailand, though it looks like that may be thwarted as the Thai domestic season is due to begin a couple of days after the first leg match against Macau. The second leg will be played at Macau's Campo Desportivo stadium on 16 February. The last meeting between the two countries was in Bangladesh when Cambodia beat Macau 2-1 with goals from Teab Vathanak and Keo Sokngorn in an April 2009 qualifier. Lee Tae-Hoon has taken the chunk of his 24-man training squad from two clubs, with Phnom Penh Crown and Preah Khan Reach both supplying seven players. The only Naga Corp player is Sun Sovanratha, the brother of former U23 skipper Sun Sovanrithy, who is conspicuous by his absence. The squad will be reduced to 18 in the week before the first leg. Cambodia, ranked at 165th in the FIFA world rankings (a place below Equatorial Guinea and one above Vanuatu), will be expected to beat Macau, who lie in 193rd place, in both legs.

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