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Cambodia reach new heights

Cambodia reach new heights

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The Cambodian team line up before their AFC Challenge Cup qualifier first leg against Macau.

The Cambodia national team have recently attained their highest FIFA world ranking of 154th according to Football Federation of Cambodia Deputy Secretary May Tola. “[The new ranking] is because of great achievements by our national team. They did well in the AFC Challenge Cup playoff [against Macau which they won 5-4 over two legs] last month,” he said.

Cambodia have become the biggest climbers of late in the Southeast Asia region by jumping up 12 places. They are currently ranked 28th out of 46 members of the Asian Football Confederation.

Records of FIFA World rankings for the Kingdom began in 1994, stooping to its lowest of 188th in December, 2005 and January, 2006.

The national team are now in preparation for the upcoming Group C matches of the AFC Challenge Cup which will take place in the Maldives from March 21-25. May Tola remained upbeat about their prospects against a competitive trio of opponents. “If we look at the Asian ranking - Tajikistan (26th), Cambodia (28th), Maldives (31st) and Kyrgyzstan (37th) – we can assume we are in a similar group of performance and ability,” he said.

“In practicality, our opponents are tough and have good records in this competition, especially Tajikistan, the inaugural champions in 2006 and runners-up in 2008 ... I hope Cambodia will keep performing better than the past.”

Head coach Lee Tae hoon, who announced his squad for the Maldives trip yesterday, said that he is not content with the current ranking and will try his best to help break Cambodia into the top 100.

While Spain have maintained their No 1 status since 2008, newly crowned Asian Cup champions Japan are ranked highest in Asia at 15th ahead of Australia (21st), South Korea (29th) and Iran (43rd).

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