Monday, August 6, 2012
Local fixture list
The 30-strong Cambodia national team squad under head coach Hok Sochetra have been meeting up three times a week, every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hour early morning sessions. Though that initial plan quickly changed when they started organizing practice matches, which have been taking place at 2pm every Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium. They've already played, and beaten Preah Khan Reach and BBU. This Tuesday they face Boeung Ket and in the following three weeks they will meet up with National Police, Preah Khan again and NagaCorp on each consecutive Tuesday. In terms of preparation, this is a continuation of the style adopted by the previous head coach, South Korean Lee Tae-Hoon, who chose to play local opponents rather than face international opposition. So far, we've been informed that the following month, when a reduced squad will be brought together for a two-week training camp at the national football center in Tonle Bati, there will be matches against the visiting Philippines national team and a touring Khmer-Europe team. The squad are then touted to be heading for an overseas training camp, Malaysia has been mooted, in the two weeks leading up to their departure for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying group matches in Myanmar on 3 October. Presumably their schedule will be affected by the Metfone C-League play-offs, which have yet to be scheduled by the football federation, as well as the matches that Police will play in Vietnam in the Eximbank Cup, and the journey to Tajikistan that Phnom Penh Crown will make towards the end of September. I certainly would not expect Crown's build-up and preparation for the AFC President's Cup impacted in any way by players being unavailable for club training sessions in the two weeks leading up to the competition proper. So much so that I don't really see how any Crown players can be actively involved in either of the training camps being organized for the national team, as their first priority will be to Crown's cup preparations. The national squad will already be without the services of two of the country's best players, with Khuon Laboravy and Kouch Sokumpheak both suffering serious knee injuries in recent weeks and will not be available for the Suzuki Cup, even though Sochetra surprised everyone by not picking Laboravy in his initial squad.