Macau is among the lowest ranked emerging footballing nations involved in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, but the tiny former Portuguese colony, which reverted to Chinese rule in the late 1990s, was brimming with confidence on the eve of today’s clash with Cambodia at Olympic Stadium.
Macau team manager Daniel Sousa told media yesterday that his team was eager and ready to make a match of it. “We know away games are tough, but we will give our best,” he said at a joint press conference attended by Macau head coach Leung Sui Wing and team captain Geofredo Cheung, as well as Cambodia’s national head coach Lee Tae Hoon.
“We are well aware of Cambodia’s strengths and the unbeaten record it enjoys against us. But every game is different and statistics does not really matter.”
Leung Sui Wing added that he was happy with the way the team had been training and the formation had a settled look about it.
However, for skipper Geofredo Cheung, who was not in the line up when Cambodia beat Macau two years ago, the crucial element would be the climate. “It is too hot for us here and I hope it doesn’t influence our performance,” he said.
Cambodia’s South Korean tactician Lee Tae Hoon said preparations for the tie had been going well. “It all boils down to how well we combine,” he said.
“We have some good players but they need to blend as a team. No match can be considered as easy. We have to be at our best to get an advantage from the home game.”
The game kicks off at 3:30pm today, with the away leg in Macau slated for February 16. The winner of this home-and-away series will enter the group phase of the competition which is to be held from March 20-31.