Saturday, November 12, 2011

Look of resignation

Time to face the music for Lee Tae-Hoon
The look on the face of Lee Tae-Hoon, the national coach of Cambodia, at the final whistle of yesterday's 4-0 SEA Games defeat to Thailand, said it all. He looked glum and weary after another of his tactical howlers came unstuck. Thailand let Cambodia off the hook with just the four goals, the scoreline could've been a lot worse as Lee's attempts to restrict his opponents came undone at the seams. His decision to play an extra defender in a five-man midfield was horribly exposed as Pancharong was given the runaround and his midfield colleagues, Saray and Souhana were conspicuous by their complete absence from the action. Playing a five-man midfield can work with the right personnel but Lee's choices came back to haunt him again, much as they did in the previous matches against Indonesia and Singapore. The South Korean coach, who came into the competition on the back of a catalogue of disastrous results in his 14 months in charge, finally gave Keo Sokngorn a starting place against Thailand but had seen enough by half-time to take him off. That was after the Kratie-born youngster was given 20 minutes and 2 minutes against Indonesia and Singapore respectively. Sokngorn is one of two players in the Cambodian squad who can single-handedly turn a match, Khuon Laboravy is the other, but under Lee's reign, he doesn't know whether he's coming or going and coupled with a foot injury that required injections just before the SEA Games began, Sokngorn's presence has been wasted. Lee did the same to Khim Borey a while back, calling him up for matches and then sitting him in the stand and on the bench, and then incredulously failed to invite him to Jakarta for this competition. Without his attacking talent, Cambodia have looked toothless in front of goal and another selection clanger has come home to roost. Lee instead opted for Phoung Soksana and Laboravy as his main attacking threats, though Laboravy's two yellow cards aginst Singapore, meant he sat out yesterday's game. On his own, Soksana looked lost and woefully short of international pedigree, as did too many in the Cambodian line-up yesterday. I feel for Soun Veasna, who had a good season for Preah Khan Reach last term but under Lee has merited just a 2 minute cameo in this SEA Games so far. With Chhun Sothearath suspended, I would've thought Veasna, or the lesser-able Pov Phearith, would get the nod. But Lee had other ideas. He doesn't even trust his own players in their normal positions, instead giving defender Touch Pancharong the holding role in the middle of the park. Decisions like that smack of desperation and that's basically where Lee has arrived at in his management of the national team. He now has to select a line-up to face the reigning champions Malaysia on Sunday. He should make the most of it because it should be his last as the national coach, either by way of falling on his own sword and admitting enough is enough, being withdrawn by his paymasters (the Korean FA) or the Cambodian federation calling time on their misguided appointment of 14 months ago.


NARA DINA said...

LEE can you please resign from our nation? i dont want see you here again.

Anonymous said...

There is no way for Mr. Lee to resign.. He has good relation with FFC... ha ha ha ha

GADAFFI said...

@Andy, I understand your apprehension for LEE and his style. However I dont think sacking him without the FFC trying to Overhaul their system of operation will bring any better result.

From what I saw from the games here in Jakarta, I noticed that the team played too defensively and where cut out to simply keep the score line low.

The players were releasing the ball too fast by simply playing it out. You know why? This is because of lack of confidence to hold on to the ball. That is a skill hard for any coach to teach, Players have to develop that skill intuitively by reading the game. This has to start from an early age to teach the players what I call "Ball mastery"

This is why i fault Lee's 4-5-1 when he doesnt have a holding midfielder or Playmaker. In the lose to Thailand, his back four Raksmey, Rithy, Pancharong and Rady did well and kudos to them for keeping Thailand quiet for most of the first half.

The problem was in the middle 5. Saray was made to play a blocking 4. He was neither a sweeper nor a libero, hence he just shielded the back 4 and was doing almost the same job as the center backs clearing the ball forward or most times into throw.

Sok Sovan was playing too deep in the middle rather than going wide on the left. Same for Chhin Choeun on the right. The only plus or Chouen was his marking. He was the only aggresive player for Cambodia closing the Thai players down and surprisingly, he was Subbed in the second half. I guess he was tired if not then that was a tactical blunder on Lee's part.

Keo Sokngorn whom i thought would add bite to the attack was completely lost in the middle of the pack. While Soksana was isolated upfront most of the time thus running here and there for lose balls and when he had chance to shoot, he was already exhausted and could only produce weak shots.
Like Keo Sokngorn, Sos Souhana also choked himself up in the middle.
playing a 4-5-1, Lee ought to have instructed his players to explore the wings. Thai were better on the ball. On many occasions they sprang some 5-6 passes while Cambodia hadly put 2-3 passes together. These are not skills that are taught at U-23 or national team level. The FFC has to go back to the basics and begin to instill this lessons from grassroots.

Anonymous said...

I think our team has a not-winning mentality against the big teams like Thailand, Vietnam or Singapore. They went to field for not-losing-too-much. That's bad.

There should be a teaching on psychology (of winning) for our footballers as well. They need to think and act like champion. They need to think and imagine that they can break the record of past failures.

Lee and other coaches can help only skills, but a winning heart, a champion attitude must be taught by a trusted psychologist.

Cheers for Cambodian team!

GADAFFI said...

Good Point mr Anon. There is more to winning than just playing on the field. Added to a psychologist, they need a good scout. The national team coach cannot do it alone. They are lucky that all MCL matches are played in Phnom Penh but who says only League players can play for the national team? The FFC need to employ a good scout who will be able to help to identify good talents for the national teams.

Anonymous said...

Well done coach! Another sterling effort!