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Hok Sochetra quits Cambodia national team

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Hok Sochetra has stepped down as head coach of theHok Sochetra. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Hok Sochetra announced his resignation as head coach of the Cambodia national football team on Saturday after only 15 weeks in charge.

The 39-year-old was appointed by the Football Federation of Cambodia ahead of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers, which were held from October 5-13 in Yangon.

Despite promising results after a two-week training camp in Malaysia, Sochetra’s men endured a torrid time in the Myanmar capital, losing all four of their games and ending bottom of the group.

Cambodia were stunned 5-1 by a dramatically improved East Timor in their opening fixture. They went on to lose 1-0 to Laos and 3-2 to Brunei 3-2. Hosts Myanmar completed the whitewash with a 3-0 thumping.

Laos and Myanmar booked their advance to the tournament proper, which will be hosted by Malaysia and Thailand from November 24 to December 22 and will also feature Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

In his resignation letter, excerpts of which were posted on the Federation website on Saturday, Hok Sochetra said he now lacked the necessary experience to lead the national team, but confirmed his commitment to developing his coaching expertise.

FFC Secretary-General Kul Sophanna yesterday stated they would not rush to name a successor.

“We don’t have any international competitions in the near future, so we still have time to think about the replacement,” he told the Post.

FFC President Sao Sokha welcomed Hok Sochetra as their new head coach on July 7 during a ceremony at their new National Football Center in Tonle Bati, Takeo province.

The former national team striker was taking over from South Korean coach Lee Tae Hoon, who had signed off an ignominious year in the hotseat.

FFC Vice President Khiev Sameth was quoted at the time as saying they were actively seeking a local coach to lead the national team who could communicate better and in their own language.

Hok Sochetra is one of a dozen Cambodians who had recently received an AFC A-Licence in coaching.

The 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers will be the next big mission for Cambodia, with the draw slated for this Thursday at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.

Twenty teams from across the continent are set to join the preliminary stage of the biennial campaign, with Northern Mariana Islands making its tournament debut.

 North Korea claimed their second trophy at the 2012 finals played in Nepal in March. 

Translated by In Sopheng

 

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