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Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Preparing the ground
The Cambodian national team will soon kick-off their preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifiers to be played in October under new head coach Hok Sochetra. Squad training - the 30-strong squad has not yet been formally announced by the federation - will begin this Thursday and will place a considerable strain on the players and their domestic clubs as the federation are demanding the attendance of the players at three sessions a week, which will include fitness and tactical sessions as well as test matches, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week, from 7am in the morning for a couple of hours, at the Olympic Stadium. This is smack-bang in the middle of the end of season run-in for the Metfone C-League championship and play-offs and will also impact on external cup competitions that Phnom Penh Crown and the National Police are involved in. I understand that Sochetra will jettison five players after a month and then reduce it again, concentrating on a squad of twenty players for the four matches that begin on 5 October when they face Timor Leste, with the games being played in Myanmar. Playing every two days, Cambodia then face Laos (7
Oct), Brunei (9 Oct) and hosts Myanmar (11 Oct). The schedule issued by the federation has test matches for the national team squad scheduled for every Tuesday in July and August and then September will be taken up by two training camps, one at the federation's new Tonle Bati HQ for the first half of the month, followed by an overseas training camp (Malaysia has been mentioned) for the second half of the month, before the squad departs for the qualifiers in Myanmar on 3 October. The training camp idea could be a sensible one, though it will not work for any Phnom Penh Crown players who might be involved. Crown will play their AFC President's Cup final stage matches from 24-30 September and will not want their own preparation compromised during the month of September. Let's hope the club v country situation can be resolved amicably. A little bird tells me that five PPCFC players have been invited to join the squad sessions: Khim Borey, Tieng Tiny, Sok Pheng, Sos Suhana and Sok Sovan.