Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Will they, won't they?

Anyone have any idea what is happening in the minds of the officials at the football federation of Cambodia? In October they announced they were turning their back on international football, having decided not to take part in the next edition of the AFC Challenge Cup, the competition for half of the Asian football nations, flagged as emerging countries, and which offers a route into the heavyweight AFC Asian Cup. The official reasoning behind the decision was as follows: "The FFC wants to concentrate on building youth and grassroots programs (in the country)," with the statement also citing limited financial reach due to the ongoing construction of the country's new national football center in Bati. As a result, no replacement was sought for Hok Sochetra, the outgoing national team coach, as it was anticipated that Cambodia's next foray into international football wouldn't be until the SEA Games at the end of 2013 in Myanmar. For Cambodia's U-23 team. So the federation could save a few dollars. Then low and behold, the AFC yesterday announced the draw for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifying competition and Cambodia were included afterall. The mind boggles, it truly does.

According to the AFC, Cambodia have been drawn to compete in the qualifying competition, to be held in the first week of March 2013, in the Philippines, in Group E which contains 4 countries, the host country of course, Turkmenistan, Brunei and Cambodia. Or will it? No official word for the federation yet confirming they have changed their mind and will compete as the AFC are expecting them to do. There is a full C-League program in the first week of March that is already planned, so if the AFC Challenge Cup qualification takes place, those matches will have to be re-scheduled. And there's the small matter of who will be in charge of the Cambodian national team, if they go to Philippines. I've heard a whisper that Naga coach Prak Sovannara is the man who will be the next incumbent of the hot seat, but again, silence as usual from the federation. 


Anonymous said...

Andy,just looking at the FIFA rankings re Cambodía's AFC Challenge Cup group in March. Hosts Philippines at 143, Turkmenistan 129, Brunei 187 and Cambodia 191. Does not augur well for Cambodia but at least coach Prak Sovanara (assuming your information is true)knows the players and will put the best possible squad together - with hopefully a fit again Ravy/Sokumpheak - and you never know - we just might beat Brunei!

Steven W said...

Does this mean that the Cambodian federation has entered the Challenge Cup competition or that the AFC has included them in the draw due to Cambodia being in the group of 'developing nations'? Hopefully the hiring of Prak Sovannara is an indication that that they will not withdraw from the tournament!

Andy Brouwer said...

Yes Cambodia will play in the AFC Challenge Cup afterall. They originally withdrew but changed their mind! Thei original decision was disasterous but they have retreated from that position (with considerable egg on their faces).