Saturday, November 23, 2013

Singapore success

The Cambodia U-23s v Singapore. Back Row: Yaty, Sovan, Soksana, Sokngon, Samoeun, Rithy. Front: Saray, Pancharong, Sothearath, Suhana, Chhoeun - click to enlarge, pic courtesy of B P Chua/
The Cambodian U-23s are in Singapore for a couple of friendly matches, as part of the final leg of their preparation for the SEA Games next month. Last night they played what was called a Singapore U-23 B team and will be cock-a-hoop that they came away with a 1-0 success, courtesy of a Chan Vathanaka goal on 72 minutes. A result they wouldn't have expected but will be very happy with. Any result away from home in international competition is never easy to come by for a country like Cambodia. Especially playing on the all-weather surface at Jalan Besar against a team well-versed in the conditions. We can safely assume that Singapore will have got a rocket from their coach in the dressing room after the match. Phnom Penh Crown's Sou Yaty and Sos Suhana both started the game in what looked like Lee Tae-Hoon's favoured starting eleven. There's a view held by Lee and other coaches that wunderkind Vathanaka cannot last ninety minutes, which is why he is used as a game-changing substitute by club and country. It worked again last night. Though, how the heck a 19-year-old professional footballer cannot last 90 minutes is beyond me. Expect the same tactic in the SEA Games. Lee's comments after their success: “We have never played on artificial pitch before, and we had also played five games in 15 days before this. There is little recovery time and the players are tired. But every time we win, we’re very happy!" Obviously the happy moments are few and far between under Lee.

The second friendly is on Sunday night on a different pitch and apparently, has been deemed a full A-list FIFA-recognised international. Which is obviously bonkers. The Cambodian squad is clearly their U-23s with Tieng Tiny sitting on the bench as their only 'official' over-age player. The Singapore team is said to be their U-23 A team, ie. the one that will play in the SEA Games. Those two facts alone would negate that the match is a senior international - but whatever, the result will count as far as FIFA-ranking points are concerned. Though perhaps the biggest surprise is the return to the national team fold by Crown's mercurial midfield playmaker, Bin Thierry, who announced the following on Facebook on Saturday morning: "I have been asked to return to the Cambodia national team, and have agreed. I will rejoin the national team in Singapore today." Short and sharp and to the point, Thierry flew out mid-day and met his teammates for a training session on Saturday night after, just twelve days ago, announcing his retirement from international football for personal reasons, which he never divulged. The uproar by the Cambodian footballing public at that news could be heard as far away as Singapore, so at least the clamour for his return will die down.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see 'Cheery' Bin back in the team. His form has been one of the few pluses under coach Lee's new tenure.