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Coach Daisuke Yoshika unites federations

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U17 Cambodian national team coach Daisuke Yoshika has cultivated a strong relationship between the Japanese and Cambodian football federations. Photograph: Ishakawa Masayori

The Cambodian U17 national team will face their counterparts from Japan in a friendly in Phnom Penh on July 25 thanks to co-ordination between coach Daisuke Yoshika and the Japanese Football Association (JFA).

The 36-year-old tactician, who has worked in Cambodia since December, 2010 as technical director of the Football Federation of Cambodia’s Youth Program, has his salary paid for by the JFA and international charity organisation Japan International Cooperation Agency.

His contract is set to expire in February next year.

“I’m very happy to continue my work in Cambodia. I love the people and this country so much,” Daisuke Yoshika told the Post during the Metfone C-League games at Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

“I need more time to push the potential of football development in Cambodia. I believe that Cambodian football will be known in the region [in the future].”

The coach asserted that, in addition to their friendly fixture later this month, the young Blue Samurais would share their experience and technical knowledge with the Cambodian lads during training sessions.

“It will be also the best time to highlight the great relationship between the football federations and governments of both Kingdoms,” he said.

Last September, Daisuke led the Cambodia U16 squad in the AFC U16 Championship in Laos, where they managed a 2-1 win over Chinese-Taipei, but lost 5-0 to the hosts, 5-0 to Vietnam, 10-0 to South Korea and 4-0 to Japan.

“During that time, Japanese coaching staff from my homeland were very interested in the [Cambodian] team. Despite losing, we played with determination and great discipline. That was the reason that allowed us to arrange the upcoming friendly match,” added the coach.

The Cambodian youth teams have no upcoming regional events to prepare for, so Daisuke is set to field his former U16 squad with some new inclusions for the friendly match.

The coach opined that national teams of all ages should train regularly, even in the absence of regular international tournament.

He also lauded local clubs Preah Khan Reach and Phnom Penh Crown for their strong development of youth teams, with Naga Corp also beginning to produce boys sides.

Daisuke commended the emergence of youth team coaches. “I’m so happy there are now many young coaches of quality in Cambodia,” he said.

“For example, Meas Channa, who was my former assistant, is a clever man. You can see his strengths when he worked as assistant coach of Naga Corp under Prak Sovannara. Soung Phirom also does a good job for National Defence Ministry. Both are now named as assistant coaches of [senior] national team.

“Phea Sopheaktra, who still works with me, has good vision in his career. He helped a lot with the Preah Khan Reach youth team. I’m very encouraging for the ones who want to develop their coaching careers.”

The Japanese-born coach stressed the important role of the media in football. “If a coach and players do a great job but have no co-operation from the media, our work is for nothing. We absolutely need the media. Personally, I always warmly welcome the comments posted about my work on my Facebook page.”

In his playing career, Daisuke made appearances for second tier German side Alemannia Aachen, as well as Brighton & Hove Albion and Hastings United in England, and New England Revolution in Major Soccer League.

He recieved a pro-licence as a coach from the Brazilian Football Federation. He has coached U18 womens and U15 boys teams of J.League Division 1 team Urawa Reds from 2003-2004, and worked as technical director of football at Nippon Bunri University from 2006-2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ung Chamroeun at chamroeun.ung@phnompenhpost.com

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