Friday, April 6, 2012
Cambodia U-22 squad need to train three times a week, under lights, ahead of the AFC U-22 Asian Cup Qualifying rounds at the end of June. We have just started the domestic football league, all the players are fit, most of the 25-man squad that the U-22s have announced played in the recent U-21 debacle in Brunei, so they know each other very well. The players don't need to get together until the end of this month at the very earliest. Instead the coach Prak Somony and his assistants have already had them training three times a week, robbing their clubs of their services and adding to the players workload at a time when they are already busy. Take the two Phnom Penh Crown players in the squad, Sos Suhana and Sok Sovan. The league season has just begun and Crown have six matches in the space of 19 days. That's a game every three days. Nowhere near enough recovery time, especially if the player has a knock or injury. Add that to their their daily training for their own club and then add on top the sessions with the U-22 squad. The players will be exhausted before they even get to the U-22 tournament in June. In addition, the Crown players will be taking part in the AFC President's Cup qualifying games as well. No wonder both Sovan and Suhana have looked a pale shadow of their normal selves in the league games they've played so far. They are knackered. And let's be honest about it, the coach could have the U-22s in a team camp, living, eating, sleeping together for a year and they would still end up getting well-beaten by the other teams in their qualifying group, who are North Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Laos. I repeat, it's complete overkill and all for a competition that they haven't got a cat-in-hell's chance of qualifying for. I feel for the players as they obviously want to play for their club and the national team but they could be burnt out before the tournament takes place. Selfishly, I also want the Crown players in good health, suitably rested and fit ready for our league programme and for the upcoming AFC President's Cup matches in early May.