The Kingdom of Cambodia has a fledgling football community. You get the most comprehensive coverage here.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sochetra walks away
Hok Sochetra realises he's bitten off more than he can chew
Hok Sochetra has fallen on his sword. He has seen the writing on the wall and has resigned as head coach of the Cambodia national team, citing his own inexperience in the role. And that takes guts. I salute him for his decision. He could've stayed on - cor blimey, the last man in the job, Lee Tae-Hoon, stayed on way past his sell-by date - as Sochetra was the federation's choice as head coach so presumably they were prepared to back him, and take Cambodia into the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers early next year, but he's taken what in many respects is the tougher decision to get out now. The performances and results of the Cambodian team at the recent AFF Suzuki Cup, Sochetra's first serious competition in charge, were pretty much a disaster. Losing to Myanmar was to be expected but to fail against Laos, Brunei and Timor Leste was a bitter pill to swallow, and the manner of the defeats made it even less palatable. Sochetra simply wasn't ready for the top job and he's man enough to accept that. Until a few months ago he was a youth coach at Preah Khan Reach and number three
in the Cambodian U-22s coaching set-up, and then in one quick blink of an eye
he was elevated to head coach of the Cambodian senior team, with his A-licence AFC coaching badge as his sole qualification for the role. It was too much too soon and anyone with a footballing braincell could see that. The job is an almost impossible task for any coach unless they have suitable hard-earned experience in the role, preferably as a national team coach, who is strong enough to lead from the front and to whip the federation and the game itself, into far better shape. The slide needs to be arrested, and quickly, before Cambodia find themselves even further down the pecking order in Asian football. Sochetra has made a good decision, for himself and for Cambodia football, and for that he deserves credit. We should never forget that he knows where the net is - he's the country's leading goalscorer of all time with 42
goals in 64 national team games - and no-one can take that away from him. Now, he needs to cut his coaching teeth in domestic club football, show what he's capable of and come back in the future, when he's ready and qualified for another crack at the top job.