Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Korean coach of the Cambodia national team, Lee Tae-Hoon, with his main target this year of being one of two teams to qualify from the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying tournament in Laos between 12-20 October, has named an initial squad of thirty players to begin training this week. That squad will be whittled down to 25 and then just twenty players will make the trip to Vientiane. Reports suggest that a training camp in Korea has been shelved in favour of one in Vietnam and that the team will play some international friendlies leading up to the qualifiers. I'll believe that when I see it. Optimism was initially raised by the recent performances of the Cambodia U-21 team in an invitational tournament in Brunei, though that disappeared when the team were soundly beaten by the Vietnamese U-19s in their final match. So it's now up to Lee to raise the spirits again for the matches in October against Laos (12/10), Timor Leste (16/10), Myanmar (18/10) and Brunei (20/10). Lee's record in competitive games since he took over the national team, which was initially in August 2010 for 22 months before he returned for a second stint in August of last year, is 7 wins in 33 games, which includes three victories recently in Brunei. Draw your own conclusions from that record. Of the thirty players he's collected together this week, I'll take a stab at who I think he will choose to be his final 20, perhaps with the addition of Chhunly Pagenburg, who's playing Germany at the moment, if he can be persuaded to join the tournament. I reiterate, these are Lee's choices, not mine: Yaty, Vichet, Pancharong, Samoeun, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Boris, Pheng, Khemarin, Piseth, Sothearath, Thierry, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Phallin, Chhoeun, Udom, Laboravy, Vathanaka, Soksana.