Hok Sochetra's first major test as the new head coach of the Cambodian football team will be the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 Qualifiers. The draw for the qualifiers and the competition proper was made in Bangkok yesterday and pitches the Cambodian team against Timor Leste in the first tie of the five-team qualifying group, which will be played in Myanmar. The first match will be on 5 October. Playing every two days, Cambodia then face Laos (7 Oct), Brunei (9 Oct) and hosts Myanmar (11 Oct). The two qualifiers from the group will go onto the competition proper which is being held jointly by Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
The Metfone C-League continued yesterday with Phnom Penh Crown going down 5-1 to newcomers Boeung Ket, who retained their top 4 spot with the victory. Young substitute Keo Sokpheng overshadowed everyone else with a hat-trick and might be an outside contender for a spot in Hok Sochetra's initial 30-man squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup. I was a mite surprised he wasn't involved in the recent U-22 squad. In the second match yesterday afternoon, there was little to choose between National Police and Kirivong, even though Police have been one of this season's revelations and sat in second place before the match began, whilst Kirivong hovered just outside the relegation places. The first-half was instantly forgettable but the game came alive on the hour when Ek Sopheap fired Kirivong into a deserved lead. Police refused to lie down and when Joel Omoraka poked home through a crowd of players with twelve minutes to go, they breathed again. The point from the 1-1 draw puts them level with Preah Khan Reach in top spot.