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Shaping the future of Cambodian football

Former national players Van Piseth and Bouy Dary have joined national team coach O’Donell to develop Cambodian talent

Photo by:

Andy Brouwer

Van Piseth will assist Cambodia head coach O’Donell in preparation for the SEA Games.

Photo by:


Cambodia head coach Scott O’Donell (right) scouts for national talent with Bouy Dary during the Cambodian Premier League game between Naga Corp and Phouchung Neak May 31 at Olympic Stadium.

RECENTLY appointed Cambodian national football coach Scott O'Donell has selected the men he wants to help shape the future of Cambodia's national team. Van Piseth and Bouy Dary are no strangers to the international setup, as both worked with O'Donell in 2007, the last year of his previous stint in charge of the national team.

All three have been running their experienced collective eyes over the ten teams in the Cambodian Premier League (CPL) for the first half of the current campaign in order to identify the cream of the country's young talent.

O'Donell is very happy with his choices. "Both Piseth and Dary were with me before," he said. "I trust and respect them. Both were national team players and have a good knowledge of the game, and we already have a mutual understanding of what we want to achieve."

Van Piseth, 47, was a national player for Cambodia for three years during the mid-1980s, playing most of his football for the Army team before beginning his coaching career at Khemara FC. He is due to take his AFC C-Licence coaching certificate next month.

Bouy Dary, 23, was assistant to the last national coach, Prak Sovannara, and is one of the younger generation of coaches in Cambodia, currently plying his trade with Phnom Penh Crown. He played under O'Donell in the SEA Games in 2005 whilst with the Royal Navy team, and already has his C-Licence. A third appointment is Prak Sovanny as the goalkeeping coach, a role he had under the previous national setup.

"The next stage is to get a squad together, with the SEA Games in Laos in December as the next major challenge," stated O'Donell. "I want to put on a series of trials for around 40 players in the last three weeks of July at the Olympic Stadium, with a view to whittling that down to a squad of 25.

"Then I'd like to get the squad with me a couple of times a week during August and September, which is why I met with the CPL coaches a couple of weeks ago, as I need their cooperation. I'd be concentrating on their technical and tactical awareness rather than their stamina until the end of the current season."

The 42-year-old Australian is also looking to cement his squad's preparation for the Under-23 Southeast Asian tournament with a couple of friendly international matches and two training camps away in Korea and Vietnam.

Last week, O'Donell, the former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Director of Coach Education, went back to Kuala Lumpur to help conduct a joint AFC and FIFA course aimed at developing quality regional coach instructors throughout Asia. Also attending the course was Prak Sovannara, who is now employed as technical coach to CPL leaders Preah Khan Reach. Pral Sovannara will head a two-week AFC C-Licence course in Cambodia, starting July 7, for thirty prospective home-grown coaches.

Meanwhile, Scott O'Donell has just flown to the Cayman Islands for a six-day FIFA coaching course he will instruct, a booking that was arranged before taking on his new role as the Cambodian coach.



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