Cambodia’s women made a spectacular regional debut in the AFF Football Championship being contested by a record 10 teams in Indonesia on Saturday, whipping a totally dumbstruck Timor Leste 12-0 in their Group A opener at Palembang’s Bumi Sriwijaya Stadium last Saturday.
Australia thrashed Malaysia 7-0 in their opener.Half of that delightful dozen for Cambodia came from the boot of captain Hout Koemhong, who struck four in the first half, the first as early as the second minute, and came back with greater vigour to add two more in the second session.
After her dominant presence, Ban Cheavey’s hat-trick was almost lost, and Poem Kunthea, Norn Minea and Chay Srelab with a goal each were mere names on a glittering score-sheet that will remain a piece of Cambodian sporting history for a long time to come.
Aside from lopsided domestic games involving provincial sides, this is the biggest victory margin a Cambodian national side has put up on the board in recent memory at the regional Asean level.
With the huge goal hauls creating great excitement in the camp, Cambodia will play all their matches at the same venue, with Malaysia to come on Tuesday, Thailand on Wednesday and Australia on Friday.
The game was as good as won at the halfway stage when Cambodia led 7-0 at the break but coach Sam Oeurn told his side not to slacken their grip.
“A very good start. A good score. I have nothing much to say, but this is our first match and we need to keep this momentum going. It is a tough group,” the coach was quoted as saying by local media.
Training with male opponents
Earlier during the joint media conference with other coaches and managers before the start of the event, Sam Oeurn spoke of how important this debut was for Cambodian women’s football and how well they eventually do would depend on how hard they were prepared to compete.
The coach would have preferred longer training than the two weeks they could manage, but as part of their preparations, the team did play matches against male opponents.