Wednesday, May 23, 2012

U-22s off to Vietnam

Hong Pheng from PPCFC, called into the Cambodia U-22 squad
After the football federation here finally saw sense and amended the Metfone C-League programme to take into account the AFC U-22 Asian Cup matches taking place at the end of June, the Cambodian U-22 squad are off to Vietnam for a friendly match against Saigon FC in the middle of next week. Three Phnom Penh Crown players have been included in the 27-man squad with Sok Sovan and Sos Suhana being joined by new addition Hong Pheng. In the travelling party are eight players from the Army and seven from Preah Khan Reach. As I've mentioned previously, I find it very strange that the U-22s are being looked after by head coach Prak Somony, whilst the full-time head coach of the senior national team, Lee Tae-Hoon, sits around twiddling his thumbs and seemingly doing bugger all whilst he waits for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Myanmar, scheduled for early October. There have been no games for the full national team for ages and the term 'money for old rope' springs readily to mind. Presumably, he has got the federation to agree to a series of tough international warm-up games ahead of the Suzuki Cup (I say that with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek) though if he has, he's keeping the schedule firmly under wraps at the moment. Now let's see, if history repeats itself, the warm-up games will be against a Korean University outfit, local domestic teams and some Vietnam B-teams. Oh, and I hear the Khmers from France, who now play under the Euro-Khmer banner, are coming over again in September to play the national team, Preah Khan Reach and a Thai club team. I suppose I'd better reserve judgement on them until I see them in the flesh.

The AFC U-22 Asian Cup has been introduced for the first time this year and the AFC expect it to become the second biggest national team competition in the football calendar, eventually acting as the Olympics qualifier. 41 national teams are taking part at 7 venues with six groups of six teams and one group of five. The top two teams in each group progress, as well as the best of the third-placed teams. Laos will host the Group F that contains Cambodia, at their National Stadium and at the Chao Anouvong Stadium. The Cambodia U-22 matches are as follows:

  • Sat 23 June: Hong Kong v Cambodia
  • Mon 25 June: Thailand v Cambodia
  • Thu 28 June: Cambodia v China PR
  • Sat 30 June: Cambodia v Korea DPR
  • Tue 3 July: Laos v Cambodia

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