The Kingdom of Cambodia has a fledgling football community. You get the most comprehensive coverage here.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Disaster waiting to happen
Cambodia's football authorities are setting the national football team up for another big fall. Their next serious international competition is the SEA Games in December, which will be held in Myanmar. That's five months away. Cambodia have yet to publicly announce the return of Lee Tae-Hoon as the national team coach, though its been reported in the local media, so presumably the first task he will undertake is to put together a squad to compete in the SEA Games. That's an under-23 competition. And that's where the decision-makers at the federation have lost valuable time compared with their southeast asian neighbours, who've stolen a march by having their teams picked and in training for the past few months. As far as I can tell, only Cambodia have yet to get off their butts and organise their SEA Games football team. Take the minnows of Brunei for example. They've had their squad picked and in training every day since April. They have a friendly coming up against Indonesia, runner's up in the last competition, very soon and Indonesia have been in training since May and playing games. Vietnam have been indulging in friendlies against opposition from Japan and France, whilst Myanmar are training with the South Korean team and will play Hong Kong next month. Malaysia are taking it so seriously that they've been over in Eastern Europe for seven months playing a series of friendly matches against club sides. Pre-Games favourties Thailand have appointed Zico as their coach and mean business, playing most of their squad in this week's friendly against visiting Liverpool, as do Singapore, who recently beat Indonesia in a friendly as part of their build-up. In fact every country has got their act together, except Cambodia. The lack of preparation is telling and even though the Mekong BIDC Cup competition will be held in Phnom Penh in November, that's too little too late, in terms of gelling together a squad capable of competing against any of their SEA neighbours. In reality, its a disaster waiting to happen as the football authorities once again fail miserably to plan ahead and make decisions that are beneficial to the nation's footballing reputation. November 2011 was the last SEA Games debacle for Cambodia, which brought four defeats in as many games under the stewardship of Lee Tae-Hoon, in his previous stint in charge, and I see a very similar story playing out this time around.