The Cambodian national football team, led by head coach Hok Sochetra (L), poses for a team photo at Phnom Penh’s International Airport yesterday morning . Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
The Cambodia national football team flew out to Kuala Lumpur yesterday for a training camp ahead of their 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying campaign, which is being held in Yangon from October 5-13.
Last week, head coach Hong Sochetra trimmed his squad to 21 for the tournament, dropping the likes of Naga Corp goalkeeper Phorn Rathana and striker Choun Chum, Preah Khan Reach defenders Sok Rithy and Nen Sothearath, midfielder Pov Phearith, of National Defence Ministry, and Phnom Penh Crown striker Sok Pheng.
All three of the selected Crown players – defender Tieng Tiny, midfielder Sos Sohana and striker Khim Borey – have not flown out with the team to Malaysia due to 2012 AFC President’s Cup duties with their club. The September 24-30 finals are being played in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, after which the trio will immediately join up with the national squad.
Hok Sochetra noted their 15 days of training was a good preparation for the team as they look to repeat their 2008 feat of advancing to the finals after missing out in Laos two years ago.
The coach revealed they would play a friendly fixture against the Malaysian national team on October 2, a day before they depart for Myanmar, but would try to arrange at least two more games against top-flight local clubs in the interim.
Cambodia face East Timor in their opening clash on October 5 before meeting Laos, Brunei and hosts Myanmar in the space of two days.
Coach Sochetra admitted to watching Laos and Brunei’s recent games on TV and DVD but had only seen outdated matches involving the other nations.
“Brunei seem not to be a problem, but Laos are really improving. We have to make a strong effort at the upcoming tournament,” he said.
The top two teams from the qualifiers will earn a berth in the tournament proper, which will be co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand from November 24 to December 22.
First-placed finishers will be put in the Bangkok-based Group A alongside Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, while the second-placed team will join Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore for fixtures in Kuala Lumpur.
See second page for the squad list
Cambodia Squad List
Sou Yaty (National Defence)
Um Vichet (National Defence)
Lay Raksmey (Preah Khan Reach)
Touch Pancharong (Boeung Ket)
Khek Khemarin (National Defence)
Khiev Vibol (Boeung Ket)
Tieng Tiny (Phnom Penh Crown)
Om Thavrak (Naga Corp)
Say Piseth (Police Commissary)
Chhun Sothearoath (Build Bright United)
Sun Sopanha (Naga Corp)
Chhin Chhoeun (National Defence)
Soun Veasna (Preah Khan Reach)
Sos Suhana (Phnom Penh Crown)
Prak Mony Udom (Preah Khan Reach)
Tum Saray (Preah Khan Reach)
Keo Sokgnorn (Boeung Ket)
Srey Udom (Police Commissary)
Teab Vathanak (Naga Corp)
Khim Borey (Phnom Penh Crown)
Phoung Soksana (National Defence)
To contact the reporter on this story: Ung Chamroeun at [email protected]
Translated by In Sopheng