Hosts Cambodia and Myanmar, who get down to fight for Group B honours in the 2011 BIDC Cup at Olympic Stadium at 5:30pm this evening, have one common goal in sight, and that is to maximise psychological benefits they can carry with them into the semifinals on Friday.
Having both beaten Laos in the group stage, Cambodia and Myanmar have confirmed semifinal tickets. However, the home side’s head coach Lee Tae-Hoon feels that today’s concluding group tie is still important for the team’s overall psyche.
“What is at stake in this match is how well we can sharpen ourselves and get over some of the negatives from the previous game against Laos and work for that extra edge which would help us when we play the semis. Myanmar deserve healthy respect after their effortless win over Laos. Remember their score line read better than ours,” the coach said, referring to their 2-0 win compared to Myanmar’s 4-0 rout.
The Myanmar management is equally insistent that the side will do all it can to keep the winning progression intact and a good showing against Cambodia would do wonders for the team’s mental make up in the next phase.
Coach Gerd Zeise squashed any talk on formations and choices saying that those decisions were to be made when the situations warrant them, but he was firm on what he expected from the game. “I want everyone to pull his weight for the team,” he said.
For Both Cambodia and Myanmar, topping the group could also mean avoiding a last four clash with firm favourites Thailand, a team crammed with players who won the AFF U19 Championship in Yangon last month.
No one is willing to risk a bet against Thailand finishing on top of Group A, not after the way the side demolished Hong Xian FC on Monday evening. Thailand face Vietnam in the opening match of the day at 3:30pm, which is crucial for Vietnam’s survival more than Thailand’s progress.
Form clearly points to a walk in the park for the Thais, while the chances of Chinese provincial club making the semifinal grade is still hanging by a thin thread. The side drew 1-1 with Vietnam in a highly controversial opening tie and went down 7-2 to Thailand in their second.
Going into the match against Thailand, Vietnam, who are two behind Hong Xiang on goal difference, find themselves in a situation where a win will steal the top spot in the group while a draw or a loss by less than five goals will guarantee a semifinal berth.
Meanwhile, the cash incentives announced by the NagaWorld for the home team is creating a buzz around the Cambodian camp. Every goal scored, except for those in penalty shootouts, is worth US$2,000 for the Football Federation of Cambodia. The opening day victory over Laos means $4,000 is already in the FFC kitty, and the dash for cash is still on.
Ticket sales help flood relief
The FFC’s decision to throw the gates open on the opening day went down very well with the student community and the stands were filled to near capacity. But that free entry is now off.
Spectators in the main stands will be charged 5,000 riels (US$1.22) today and those watching from the uncovered stands will have to pay 2,000 riels. The entire ticket proceeds, however, will go to towards relief for victims of flooding being organised by the Red Cross Society of Cambodia.
FFC court overseas trio
For the Kingdom’s football buffs, there is some cheery news in store, as Cambodia’s quest for SEA Games honours are concerned. The Post has reliably learnt that the FFC is now in touch with three players of Cambodian origin living abroad, who had expressed their willingness to assist the national team.
According to FFC spokesman May Tola, the Federation has already sounded Chan Tolson of Australia, Davy Armstrong residing in the United States and Chhunly Pagenburg settled in Germany of their possible inclusion in the team. It is learnt that only Chan Tolson has so far responded, though the contents of the correspondence has not been released. Armstrong and Pagenburg are yet to make their stands known.
There are several logistical hurdles to be crossed in the next few weeks before the three players could finally join the touring party but the opening of communication channels between them and the FFC is being seen as an exciting development.