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Cambodia All Stars’ Shane Booysen scores against Muangthong United on January 16, 2016.
Cambodia All Stars’ Shane Booysen scores against Muangthong United on January 16, 2016. Sreng Meng Srun

All Stars to face Thai giants Muangthong

Thai Premier League heavyweights SCG Muangthong United will begin the next phase of their Asean tour with a charity-driven friendly against K-Cement Cambodian All Stars at the Olympic Stadium at 6pm on Sunday.

The second meeting between the two sides revives memories of a seven-goal affair last year, which the All Stars won 4-3 in front of a huge and appreciative crowd.

Winners of the Champions Cup this year, Muangthong are currently second behind Buriram United in the race for the TPL title.

During the four-day tour, the Thai giants will hold “Kick and Share” sessions with Cambodian youth as they seek to build stronger bonds between the two countries. The proceeds from the friendly will go towards the development of football in Cambodia, a gesture that has been hailed by the community in general and the Football Federation of Cambodia in particular.

The contest could not have come at a better time for Cambodia head coach Leonardo Vittorino, who is now in the midst of intense preparations ahead of the national team’s campaign in next month’s SEA Games in Malaysia, where the side has been drawn in a tough group.

Despite the less pressured circumstances in which this game is to be played, the coach will still be keen to glean as much as he can as some of the Thai national players will be on the pitch for Muangthong, and knowledge of their skills and strengths should come in handy when Cambodia meet Thailand in Malaysia.

Key players turning out for Muangthong include Charyl Chappuis, Heberty Fernandes and Leandro Assumpcao, giving head coach Totchtawan Sripan plenty of options.

Muangthong’s director of football Ronnarit Suewaja said in a statement on the club’s Facebook page: “We are honoured to be invited back to Cambodia for the second year in a row. The response last year from the fans was amazing, with over 45,000 fans at the match, and this year we want to build this relationship.’’

The Asean tour is the initiative of SCG marketing outreach, to build Muangthong’s fanbase and to promote the development of football in the region. Over the past two years the club has visited Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

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