A new Cambodia national football team head coach is expected to be unveiled in the next few days after the Football Federation of Cambodia revealed yesterday that they had reversed their decision to pull out of next year’s international competitions.
According to an FFC spokesman, FFC President Sao Sokha and executive committee members had informed the Asian Football Confederation six weeks ago that they now intended to compete in regional competitions in 2013.
The federation had also been considering individuals for the position of national team head coach over the past fortnight, with the final candidate to be announced imminently pending confirmation from the Executive Committee, spokesman May Tola said.
On Tuesday night, the draw for next year’s qualifying tournament for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup was held at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.
Twenty participating nations were bracketed into five groups of four teams, with each team playing each other in the group in a single-match, round-robin format. The five group winners and two best second-placed teams will join host nation the Maldives at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup finals.
North Korea, the reigning champions and winners of the 2010 edition after beating Turkmenistan in both of the past two finals, have had their status upgraded and no longer qualify for participation in the biennial regional competition for “emerging countries” in the AFC’s Vision Asia program.
North Korea instead qualified for the 2015 Asian Cup, to be played in Australia. The winner of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup will also join them.
Cambodia were drawn with Group E hosts the Philippines, Brunei and two-time runners up Turkmenistan. Matches will be played on March 2, 4 and 6 next year.
The Kingdom have never qualified for the finals stage since its introduction in 2008.
2014 AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers Draw
Group A: Myanmar (hosts), India, Taiwan, Guam
Group B: Kyrgyzstan (hosts), Tajikstan, Pakistan, Macau
Group C: Laos (hosts), Mongolia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka,
Group D: Nepal (hosts), Palestine, Northern Mariana Islands, Bangladesh
Group E: Philippines (hosts), Turkmenistan, Cambodia, Brunei
Draw for U14 qualifiers
In another draw held at the AFC House on Tuesday night, Cambodia were grouped with neighbouring rivals Thailand and Laos on Tuesday night for the 2014 AFC U14 Championship qualifiers.
Indonesia, Singapore and Bangladesh have also been drawn into Group F, with the Bangladesh brought across to the ASEAN Zone due to a surplus of teams in the Central and South Zone.
Myanmar will host all Group E and F matches with dates to be determined later. The top two of each group will advance to the 2014 finals round.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Riley at [email protected]