The Cambodian national futsal team, including five officials and 14 players, flew to Bangkok yesterday afternoon ahead of participation in the 10-nation 2012 AFF Futsal Championship, which gets underway tomorrow.
Head coach Hok Sotitya told the Post before heading to the airport yesterday that his players have been selected from futsal clubs competing in the annual national championships and tournaments and had been training for the past month-and-a-half.
They had also played friendlies against other local sides to gain familiarity as a team.
“In recent friendly games, our most impressive win was 29-0 but this result is not comparable to what we face in the upcoming campaign. They [the Cambodian national team players] have never played in international games, let alone on foreign soil, so their confidence is not good,” he said.
“Their energy and technique is acceptable but they suffer from nerves when playing in front of large crowds which can alter their playing style. We have already seen this aspect when they played in the 2012 AFC Futsal Championship in Thailand.”
Since 2001, Thailand have dominated, claiming the title seven times while Indonesia have won it once. Cambodia have made two appearances and finished fourth on both occasions.
In 2003, Cambodia were obliterated 29-0 by Indonesia in the third place playoff, although Cambodia’s Chan Veasna registered the second highest goal count of the competition with 12 goals.
In 2006, Cambodia side were beaten 10-2 by Myanmar at the same stage.
Thailand also triumphed 3-1 over Indonesia in the final of the 2012 AFC Futsal Championship qualification tournament held in Bangkok in February.
Cambodia had lost all of their group games and failed to advance to the knockout rounds.
The upcoming eight-day event organised by regional football governing body the ASEAN Football Federation, sees Cambodian drawn in Group A with Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Myanmar, while Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Timor Leste and Brunei comprise Group B.
In opening day match-ups tomorrow at the Krungthep Thonburi Indoor Stadium, Cambodia will face Malaysia while Myanmar meet Philippines.
In Group B, Timor Leste have a tough game against Indonesia while Laos clash with Brunei.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhorn Norn at [email protected]
Translated by In Sopheng