Sreng Meng Srun /Phnom Penh Post
Members of the Cambodia U21 national team train with former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro (left) at Olympic Stadium on Monday. The squad will play Malayisa U23s tomorrow.
Cambodia’s national team coach, Lee Tae Hoon, is switching his thoughts to recovery mode after a string of disastrous results last year as he embarks on a new year of hope.
The South Korean strategist, who took over the coaching reins from Australia’s Scott O’Donell towards the end of the 2010 league season, is reshaping the U21 side for a regional tournament in Brunei next month.
As part of their preparations for the trip, the national U21 side will play a friendly against the 2011 SEA Games gold-medal-winning Malaysian U23 squad at Olympic Stadium tomorrow.
Although the Brunei tournament has been branded as an U21 event, the organisers have allowed some leeway for teams to include a few senior players in the mix.
The warm-up game against Malaysia is the fifth in a series that began at the turn of the new year. The Brunei-bound hopefuls came up with a 5-1 victory over new league entrants Boeung Ket Rubber Field but went down 1-0 to Build Bright United.
Against two of the more prolific top-flight league teams, the U21 side could muster only a 2-2 draw against Preah Khan Reach and 1-1 against Naga Corp.
But by all accounts, tomorrow’s fixture against Malaysia is the strongest opposition the national side will be running into.
“It’s a stern test for the hopefuls, and the performances will probably help us in evaluating individual merits,” Lee told the Post yesterday.
As many as 25 players are going through the paces in Lee’s preparatory camp. That number will be whittled down to 18 for the Brunei tour.