Monday, June 6, 2011


The national team, pictured this morning (courtesy FFC)
The Cambodian national team are preparing for their game against the Malaysian Olympic team (effectively their u-23 side) tomorrow afternoon, with two days of familiarization training at the national football center outside of the city. Part of their preparation was this team photo, taken at 7.30am this morning. The Cambodians have their important World Cup qualifying games against Laos coming up soon, 29 June at home to be precise, with the away leg on 3 July. The suggestion is that the South Korean coach of the national team, Lee Tae-Hoon, doesn't give two hoots about the World Cup and is focusing his efforts on the longer-term policy of getting the country's U-23 team in shipshape fashion ready for the SEA Games in November. If it's true, it's about as bonkers as they come. Someone needs to remind him and the football federation that the FIFA World Cup is as big as it gets in football terms. And if Cambodia manage to defeat Laos over the two legs, they will meet China. Has anyone at the FFC heard of China? It happens to be the biggest country in the world and matches against the Chinese are exactly what the footballing public want, not some half-arsed theory that improving our appalling SEA Games record is the main focus. In actual fact we want to do both, but the World Cup is the most pressing and beating Laos is a definite possibility, with our best eleven on the pitch. That includes our Thai-based players, who the coach has refused point-blank to consider for the two games. As I said, absolute bonkers.


Anonymous said...

Andy, what is the point of beating Laos and getting to play China when we all know too well our team is not even in the same league as China and the world cup worthy teams? There is a fine line between challenging yourself for growth and realizing where your limitation is at. Yes, game with China would give the national team a taste of what it might be like to play with quality team. However, if we can't even make it out of the group qualification of any of the SEA football tournament, what's good is learning to run when you can't even walk yet? Plus, we have better chance of getting out of group in SEA games than the world cup qualification.

I have no comment about the national coach but the decision to focus more on the regional tournament and get better results there looks like a wiser one. Again, we are more or less at par with these teams in SEA and the tournament progress is much more at reach.

This is the strategy of long term growth as I see it, much like the fostering of players from very young age that we can see growing today in Cambodia.

Andy Brouwer said...

The point of beating Laos to play China is that we need to play against better teams to improve. These opportunities don't come up very often as our federation don't appear to place value on games against better opposition. I would prefer to see us busting a gut on both scenarios, putting out our best team to beat Laos and face China, and also looking to the future with the U23 SEA Games. If you went to the last SEA Games, like I did, you would realize that we are some way behind most teams in the region at that level. There is a major gap in football development at the youth level here that is shown on an international stage at U-23 level; the absence of professional coaching at a young age in Cambodia is putting us light years behind some of the other countries.
If you think we are on a par with countries in SEA then I disagree. If you also want to ignore the World Cup in favour of the SEA Games, then you are in the same camp as the coach, and I disagree with that view as well. We should focus on both in my view.