Monday, June 3, 2013

U-14s pride intact

Cambodia U-14s meet Thailand. LtoR: Komapitu, Saphy, Kakada, David, Sopharith, Samnang (capt). Front Row: Mustafa, Kimhong, Davith, Panha, Piseth.
The Cambodian U-14 national team completed their AFC U-14 Championship qualifiers earlier this morning and can feel well pleased with their debut in the competition. Though they didn't qualify for the finals, which was never a realistic expectation, they did put up some sterling performances and picked up two draws, and two points, out of the five group matches they played. They finished 5th out of the six teams and rounded off their matches with successive solo-goal defeats against the group runaway winners Thailand, and early this morning, Singapore. Goal-less draws against Bangladesh and Laos, either side of a 5-0 defeat to Indonesia, coupled with 1-nil defeats to Thailand and Singapore tell the story of the Bouy Dary-coached team, who got together six weeks before the tournament and surprised their opponents with resilient defending, a tight-knit team formation and a willingness to battle for every ball. Where they did come unstuck was in front of goal, not registering a goal in their five matches. They played all their matches in the near empty 30,000 all-seater Zeyar Thiri Stadium in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, playing five games in seven days. For the record, the majority of the Cambodian team were aged just twelve years old whereas most of their opponents were two years older, so there's a lot of promise and hope for the future if these youngsters continue to develop. This was afterall their first major international competition. Quite a daunting task for anyone, let alone boys so young. They return to Phnom Penh tomorrow evening. The eight teams that qualified for the inaugural U-14 continental competition are Thailand, Timor Leste, IR Iran, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, DPR Korea and Iraq.
The Cambodia boys take a breather at the stadium after their final match, with their coaching staff

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Khmer boys for their brave performance. Much better than their senior sides. Timor must have been doing something right, at all levels of their football development. Not long ago they were not even a country. Cambodia should learn from them.