Just over a month before the SEA Games kick off in Myanmar, Cambodia's worst fears were realised when the draw for the men's football competition was made this week. Drawn in what is regarded as the toughest grouping, Group B, they will face the hosts Myanmar, Indonesia, East Timor and their BIDC Cup victors Thailand for a place in the knock-out stages of a tournament expected to be a highlight of the 27th biannual Games. The draw took place at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium, a new 30,000-seater built in Naypyidaw to host the SEA Games’ track and field events. The football matches in Group A (involving Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos and Brunei) will be played at the Zayar Thiri Stadium, a replica of the Wunna Theikdi located a half-hour drive across town in Naypyidaw’s main military area. However, Cambodia's matches in Group B will take place in Yangon, at the Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.
Indonesia, SEA Games runners-up last time out in a penalty shoot-out with Malaysia, have a couple of prep matches versus Hong Kong sides in the next few days, and drew 0-0 with Timor Leste in a recent friendly. Thailand coach Kiatisak Senamuang announced he was pleased to be in what he felt was the weaker group, as his squad began a training camp in Chiang Mai. Wouldn't it be great to wipe the smile off his face. None of the players who beat Cambodia in the BIDC Cup yesterday will feature in the SEA Games. Myanmar, as the hosts, have set a gold medal as their target after their third place in the last Games two years ago, so lots of pressure for their Korean coach Park Seong-Hwa, whilst Timor Leste included players from at least six different countries in that friendlyin Indonesia under their Japanese coach Norio Tsukitate.
The SEA Games matches for Cambodia:
7 Dec: Myanmar v Cambodia 6.45pm
9 Dec: Cambodia v Indonesia 4pm
12 Dec: Cambodia v Timor Leste 6.45pm
16 Dec: Thailand v Cambodia 6.45pm.