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Cambodian national sides set for series of friendlies

Cambodia defender Say Pisith clears the ball from a Cambodia Tiger FC player
Cambodia defender Say Pisith clears the ball from a Cambodia Tiger FC player in their game on Sunday evening. AFP

Cambodian national sides set for series of friendlies

The Cambodian under-23 and senior team play international friendly matches over the coming days in preparation for the upcoming SEA Games in Singapore and their 2018 FIFA World Cup regional qualifying group.

The U23s have played impressively in qualifying for the 2016 AFC U23 Championship and in previous friendlies, building confidence before they fly out to Singapore for the Southeast Asian sporting event, and they have high expectations to reach at least the semis for the first time.

However, in a game against an African All Stars side assembled from Metfone C-League players based in the country last Friday at Tonle Bati Football National Centre in Takeo province, the U23s lost 4-0.

Today, they face a South Korean U23 side in a friendly game in Vietnam before playing an undecided club from the V League on Friday.

The Football Federation of Cambodia will also prepare another international friendly match for the U23s at the end of this month at the Olympic Stadium before they travel to Singapore.

The Cambodian senior squad, who were called together earlier this month, beat Cambodia Tiger FC, formerly Tri-Asia, 2-1 in their friendly at Western Stadium on Sunday evening, and the final World Cup squad is scheduled to play Thailand in a friendly match on May 24 before meeting the Philippines at a date to be finalised.

Caretaker manager Ohara Kazunori of Japan will use these outings to finalise the 23-man squads for the 2018 FIFA World Cup second round qualifying games against Singapore on June 11 and Afghanistan on June 16.

“To divide the U23 and senior squads will lead to an understrength senior squad, unlike for the qualifying games against Macao, because we will have to withdraw some good players to fill the U23s as our main focus is on the SEA Games,” said Chhang Pisith, the national and under-23 team manager. Translated by In Sopheng

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