Saturday, June 16, 2012

Looking ahead

After this weekend's Metfone C-League matches have been completed, the league competition will take another mini-break, hot on the heels of the mid-season pause. The reason is that 22 of the country's brightest prospects will be winging their way to Laos to take part in the brand new AFC U-22 Asian Cup with the Cambodian U-22 national team, under head coach Prak Sokmony. Initially the C-League authorities had ignored this new competition when they formulated their fixture list, but they've had a re-think and have now left a gap in the domestic fixtures which will begin after Sunday's matches and will last until they re-start on Wednesday 11 July. The squad for the U-22s has been announced and were involved in this week's 5-1 success over the touring Philippines U-22s, which has put the Cambodians in good heart for their first match in the Asian Cup next Saturday, 23 June against Hong Kong. Their fixtures in the cup 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
The 22-strong squad chosen by Prak Sokmony is as follows:
Sou Yaty, Um Vichet, Sar Sophea, Touch Pancharong, Nen Sothearoth, Khiev Vibol, Ol Ravy, Sok Sovan, Ke Vannak, Khek Khemarin, Sob Ravy, Moul Daravorn, Chea Samnang, Soun Veasna, Pov Phearith, Tith Dina, Chhin Chhoeun, Heng Sokly, Keo Sokngorn, Sos Suhana, Phoung Soksana, Tum Saray.
7 of the players are with the Army team, six with Preah Khan Reach and the others are split between National Police, Phnom Penh Crown, Boeung Ket and BBU. It's pretty much a squad that picks itself. Midfield is perhaps its strongest area whilst in attack, the absence of a consistent out-n-out goalscorer could be their undoing, though there are plenty of players able to chip in with a goal or two, as Sos Suhana showed on Wednesday. Defensively is where I would pose the most question marks, especially against the high standard of opposition they will encounter in the likes of China, Korea and Thailand. Those countries will be taking the competition very seriously and must be amongst the favourites to go all the way. There are nine defenders in the squad and Sokmony will need to work some magic to select the best four to cope with the tough matches ahead. Fortunately he is blessed with three good goalkeepers as a last line of defence. We await the competition with great interest.

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