Thursday, September 15, 2011

Footy gossip

Lee Tae-Hoon (white) pointing the way ahead to his U-23 players, or is he showing them the exit?
I will have no sympathy for the Cambodian national coach Lee Tae-Hoon if he decides to overlook the claims of eligible players from Phnom Penh Crown - I can count at least six players who must have good shouts to be included - for the U-23 national team's future games in the BIDC Mekong Cup next month and the SEA Games in November. To be honest I have no sympathy for him anyway for the way players like Khim Borey, San Narith and Peng Bunchhay have been treated by the South Korean coach in the past twelve months. Not to mention the spectacularly unsuccessful year when Cambodia failed in all three major competitions it entered. And then I hear him bleating after his team were comprehensively beaten by Crown in yesterday's friendly match 3-1, because he's missing some players from the U-19 squad in Myanmar, and they have no time together, blah, blah, blah... In fact, the U-23 team he started with yesterday contained no less than 10 players who've played for him at full national team level this season, so aside from a few overage players like Kouch Sokumpheak, Sun Sopanha, Sam El Nasa and Ouk Mic, he's already got the majority of his national team selections available for the U-23s. That means he's had more than enough time to get them onside with tactics, formations, style of play, and so on. The players he said he's missing are teenagers like Prak Mony Udom, Suon Veasna, Chea Samnang and Oum Vichet, as well as Mat Hasan and a couple of injured players, Lay Raksmey and Long Nasy. Tactically-speaking, the U-23s looked devoid of anything interesting, relying on pressing Crown for the first fifteen minutes of both halves, before settling back and running out of steam towards the end. Do I see any hope for success in the future? The straight answer is no I don't. Though the Federation have confidence in the coach, recently rewarding him with another twelve month contract.

The two new teams heading for the Metfone C-League next season are Western University from Phnom Penh and the rubber-backed Beoung Ket from Kompong Cham, who I believe are the team Crown met in the Hun Sen Cup at the start of the season, Neak Khiev. They came out on top in the 10-team Division 1A championship that has just been concluded and will replace the relegated Prek Pra and Rithysen.

There is a distinct possibility that Phnom Penh Crown will be asked to participate in the upcoming 2011 BTV Cup (Binh Duong Television Cup) in Vietnam from 2-15 October. This is an international friendly cup competition held annually in the Go Dau Stadium, the home of V-League team Becamex Binh Duong. Amongst the international sides invited to join in are clubs from Brazil, Uganda, Slovakia and India. V-Leaguer's Dong Tam Long An won the 2010 edition, collecting $20,000 for their trouble. In 2003 a team under the moniker of Olympic Cambodia also took part, unsuccessfully.

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