Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - National team seeks a local coach as Lee’s exit confirmed

National team seeks a local coach as Lee’s exit confirmed

National team seeks a local coach as Lee’s exit confirmed


South Korean-born Lee Tae Hoon will see his appointment as coach of the Cambodian national team expire next month. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

South Korean Lee Tae Hoon’s two-year stint as the national football coach is likely to end in July once his contract with the Football Federation of Cambodia runs out.

The 42-year-old Lee, who took charge of the national team in August 2010, is the fourth foreign coach to guide the Cambodian football fortunes in the past 12 years after Joachim Fickert, Scott O’Donnell and Yoo Keu Heung.

As the South Korean tactician rides quietly into the sunset, his legacy as far as his Cambodian stint goes remains a mixed bag of sentiments.

A small band of his supporters would argue that Lee did his best to meld and weld a disjointed unit, while his most trenchant critics have all along accused him of being lacklustre and laid back, often allowing the side to drift from its goals through some poor choices.

On several occasions Lee himself had poured out his frustrations over a string of dismal results, firmly pointing a finger of blame on some players for lack of zest to train and few others for being selfishly individualistic.

He was often hammered away for some of Cambodia’s notable crack-ups on the pitch, most glaringly at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia in November and the second leg of the World Cup qualifier against Laos in Vientiane played last July.

Federation spokesman May Tola confirmed to the Post yesterday that FFC President Sao Sokha was keen on one of the qualified local coaches taking over the reins once Lee Tae Hoon officially departs.

“Looking ahead to the Suzuki Cup qualifiers later this year, the national team would be entrusted to one of the local coaches. We have 10 A-licensed coaches in the country now. We are confident one of our own can fit in,” said May Tola.

Interestingly, it was under Cambodian coach Prak Sovannara that the Kingdom qualified for the Suzuki Cup three years ago, an achievement the foreign coaches all fell short of.

For the record, Som Saran was the first native to coach the Cambodian national side since the turn of the century, and also briefly took a spell in 2005.

Meanwhile, the newly formed National U22 team were going through the paces at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City in preparation for today’s friendly against Saigon FC, ahead of their participation at the AFC U22 Asian Cup in Vientiane next month.

Head coach Prak Somony is placing great importance on this crucial warm-up game before Cambodia’s Group F engagements involving hosts Laos, Hong Kong, Thailand, China and North Korea.

“The U22 Asian Cup is a brand new AFC concept. It is crucial that we perform well in Laos. This age group represents the nucleus for our future competitions like the Suzuki Cup and beyond,” added May Tola.

Over the past few weeks, the squad of young players have won one and drawn three local friendlies.

Prak Somony’s side managed to peg back former league champions and one of this season’s front runners Naga Corp 3-2, while drawing 1-1 with current league leaders National Police Commissary, 2-2 against Boeung Ket Rubber Field and holding Build Bright United to a 1-1 tie.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which