Saturday, October 22, 2011

Incredulous decision

A jubilant Khim Borey after scoring for his country in the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2008
How the heck can the head coach of a national football team go to a major championship without his best striker? But that's exactly what Cambodia's coach Lee Tae-Hoon is planning to do with the SEA Games, held every two years, just around the corner. It's hard enough to understand him at press conferences as it is, but to try and get inside his head with this decision, is simply impossible. Pure and simple, it makes no sense whatsoever. Khim Borey is a proven goalscorer in international football. His record makes that abundantly clear even to the most one-eyed of football analysts. Yet, the inscrutable South Korean coach refuses to be budged and will not be taking the Phnom Penh Crown marksman to the Games in Jakarta. Borey has a pretty impressive CV considering he's only just turned 22 years old. He was the Cambodian League’s Golden Boot winner when he top scored with 18 goals in 2008 as his team finished in 2nd spot in the Cambodian League, and he captained the Army team to a Hun Sen Cup Final success in 2010, against Phnom Penh Crown. On the international scene, Borey made his debut for his country against Syria in the Nehru Cup in 2007, having progressed rapidly in that same year from the national youth team through the Under-23 side to full international. In 2008 he scored five goals in eleven appearances for his country and then registered a rare international hat-trick against Timor Leste in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers held in Laos. Born in the village of Kouk Kanhchab in Takeo Province in southern Cambodia, he first came to prominence playing for the Koh Kong provincial team as a sixteen year old, before joining the National Defense Ministry club in 2006. He’d played for the Army boy’s team a couple of years earlier and conveniently lived next door to the Army headquarters in Phnom Penh. Operating primarily as a striker throughout his career, he missed five months of the 2009 season with a persistent ankle injury and in 2010 was regularly used in a deep-lying midfield role by the Army team. Before the start of the 2011 season, Borey joined Phnom Penh Crown but was denied a starting place in the Hun Sen Cup competition by the football federation. At the same time, current Crown coach David Booth, then coach at Thai Premier team Sisaket, took him on a season-long loan to northeast Thailand, where he played ten games in one of the best leagues in Asia before returning to Crown in time to line-up in the club's AFC President's Cup successes in Taiwan last month. Quite simply, Borey has been one of the country's outstanding performers over the last four years, yet Lee Tae-Hoon seems to be the only one that doesn't see it. Pointedly, Borey has more international experience as a player, despite his young age, than Lee has as a national team coach. It's a truly incredulous decision and one which will surely come back to bite the coach on his arse.


Anonymous said...


To my opinion, I wonder Coach Lee has 100 % power in select national team player or not. We have to search and learn more about the rule of FFC. It must be secret issue behind this national team selection. I want you to google it !

In term of best player or best intl record, Borey must be select for national team for SEA GAME in jakarta.

In term of corruption or networking or relation or khmer style, Borey can't because he is not play for team that have power in FFC management board. In Cambodia, in every issue, they don't care about national interest much, they care about their pocket money!

Anyway, the final SEA GAME squad is done and ready for match in Jakarta.. I only cheer for them as I am khmer too.

From Khmer in Bangkok

Anonymous said...

Lee should be fired from national coach. He is simply not qualified!!!!

Andy Brouwer said...

Khmer in Bangkok, there may be something in what you say regarding Borey not playing for one of the teams that hold power. He plays for PPCFC, but it was the Cambodian federation that didn't allow him to play for PPCFC at the start of last season in the Hun Sen Cup. Because the Army didn't want him to play, the federation agreed with them despite Borey having signed a contract with PPCFC. It was an incredible decision by the federation. As Borey then went to Thailand to play, the problem went away, so to speak.
As for Lee's non selection of the country's most proven international goalscorer, only Lee can say why he doesn't pick him. He's had Borey in his squad before and messed him about. It's just very sad for Cambodian fans that their best striker will not go to the SEA Games.

Andy Brouwer said...

As it turned out, Cambodia were toothless in attack during the SEA Games, losing all 4 matches and scoring just twice. They certainly missed Borey, a proven goalscorer. The coach, Lee Tae-Hoon however remains in post and has a contract until the middle of next year, which the FFC have publicly stated they will honour. Rewarding failure is not how I would run a national team.