Monday, March 21, 2011

A tough ask for Cambodia

The Cambodian national team prepare for departure
It pains me to say it but the Cambodian national team will really have their work cut out to progress from their AFC Challenge Cup group matches, that are being staged in Male, in the Maldives this week. On paper the Cambodia team are ranked by FIFA as the 2nd best team in the group in 154th place, though with home advantage I expect Maldives to put in that extra effort when the teams meet later tonight. Maldives are ranked in 161st place and will be no push-overs. The best team in the group are undoubtedly Tajikistan (ranked 148th) and they grabbed third place in the 2010 Challenge Cup competition, so the match against Cambodia on Wednesday (23 Mar) will be a tough ask for our boys. Incidentally, Tajikistan won the competition in 2006 and were runners-up in 2008. The final game on Friday (25 Mar) will be against 174th placed Kyrgyzstan, but they finished in 3rd spot in 2006 and have a good club pedigree in the President's Cup. All 3 of Cambodia's matches begin at 11pm Cambodian time.

In the 2010 qualification group matches for the AFC Challenge Cup, Cambodia went down narrowly to host country Bangladesh (0-1) and Myanmar (0-1) and beat Macau (2-1) but it wasn't enough to get through the group stage. The Maldives also didn't get through their group, held in Male, despite wins over Philippines (3-2) and Bhutan (5-0), as a 3-1 defeat against Turkmenistan was their undoing, on goal difference. The other country to play in the group qualifiers was Kyrgyzstan, who went through courtesy of more goals scored after two drawn matches against Nepal and Palestine. Once they were through to the competition proper, Kyrgyzstan started well with a 2-1 win over India before bowing out with defeats against North Korea (4-0) and Turmenistan (1-0). As for Tajikistan, they were automatic qualifiers for the finals last year, and despite a 2-1 loss to Bangladesh in the opening game, they roared back to beat Sri Lanka 3-1 and Myanmar 3-0 to reach the semi-final. They lost 2-0 to Turkmenistan but did claim 3rd place with a 1-0 win over Myanmar.


Rick said...

They are up against it for sure.

Did you see the captain of the Maldive's hair cut? Surely a sign of a superior team.

Andy Brouwer said...

The Cambodian coach, Lee Tae-Hoon was interviewed for and had this to say before tonight's 1st game against the host nation:

Lee Tae-Hoon has said that they have a good chance to get a result against the Maldives and they would be playing an attacking game. He also said that they had a few days to prepare the team for the tournament.

“Tajikistan is the best team in the group. Kyrgyzstan is not bad and the Maldives side is almost the same as us. We would try our best and I think we could get a result.”

“Maldives and ours have similar character in football and our physical form is almost the same.”

“Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have the team spirit as the European sides. Our spirit not at the top, but we would try our best.”

“I am here only for six months as the coach. But the team has developed over the six month period. The game against Macau, was very difficult and it was difficult to play against them because of the weather.”

“Our preparation wasn’t very strong. Some of the players just got around for the practices before coming here for the tournament.”

Not exactly fighting talk from the coach. He again bemoans the preparation but he's had his squad available for training and practice games for many months, so if he's not prepared now, he never will be.
He feels the team has developed though he was unsuccessful in the Suzuki Cup and only just got past Macau in the qualifier, so I've yet to be convinced there's been any development. We shall see this week and my fingers are crossed for Cambodian success. They really are.

Mohamed Naahii said...

Dear brouwer,

it is an understatement to say cambodia is equal to Maldives. For sure the Maldives is twice better than cambodia as you can see we blasted 6 goals past cambodia in 2001 and cambodia couldnt beat Maldives in their home crowd even. after 11 years last night, Maldives again thrashed Cambodia 4-0 although it could have easily been 7 or 8 had they taken their chances. For your information, Cambodia is an underdog in our group and all other three teams have an equal chances to proceed. Maybe Cambodia Should learn from Maldives in developing youngsters !