The 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup wraps up its final four fixtures of the round of 16 this weekend at Olympic Stadium. We take a look at the match-ups spread over tomorrow and Sunday.
Police Military of Stung Treng v National Police Commissary
Saturday January 29 – 2pm
Coach Hok Sochivoan has skillfully led the Police Military of Stung Treng team to be the only provincial side to advance to the knockout stage as leaders of their group. The former national team player was philosophical ahead of this weekend’s last 16 fixture against National Police Commissary.
“As a coach, I want my team win every match, but [if we] win or lose depends on our strength and our luck,” he said.
Sok Sam Ath and Hout Chhaya are touted as the players to watch for Stung Treng.
Hok Sochivoan will meet his past Cambodia team colleague and now Police Comissary coach Ung Kanyanith on the sidelines of this highly anticipated clash.
In the National Police Commissary camp, skipper Sophal Udom and Oum Dimanche are still doubfuls for the upcoming match with knee injuries.
“However, we have enough class to defeat the Stung Treng side,” assured club vice president So Moniroath. “We are a lot of young talent players such as Tith Dina, Long Nasy and Soy Piseth.”
National Defence Ministry v Chhma Khmao
Saturday January 29 – 4:30pm
Despite the controversial exodus during the off-season of six key players, Cup holders National Defence Ministry (MND) are still in with a chance of retaining the trophy while Chhma Khmao will attempt to save some face after being relegated from the top tier last year.
MND assistant coach Hor Sok Heng recognised that his team have been weakened for this campaign, but praised the performance of youngsters such as Phoung Soksana and Chhin Chhoeun.
“Sure, we are not so strong compared to previous years, but we will try to defend the title,” he said, adding that their only injury concern was Touch Sok Heng.
Svay Rieng outfit Chhma Khmao face an uphill struggle for a place in the quarterfinals, with star duo - Men Piseth (suspened) and Sok Kolamara (knee injury) – out of action.
“We will have to work hard to win the match,’ said coach Pin Dara. “We lost our two best players, but we still have Kong Vichea, Khom Piseth and Uong Dara.”
According to the coach, Chhma Khmao receive vital financial support from Dy Vichea, son-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen and also son of the former chief of the National Police.
Naga Corp v Koh Kong
Sunday January 30 –2pm
Naga Corp manager Lam Tiny says he is still shocked at the decision by the Football Federation of Cambodia to forbid former MND players Sin Dalin and Nov Soseila from playing with their new team in the competion.
“I don’t know well about FIFA rules, but I just want them keep playing football,” said the manager. “It won’t affect the result of our match [this weekend]. We already have a strong squad to beat Koh Kong.”
Lam Tiny said he demands a solid performance from his back line, revealing that bonuses are given for keeping clean sheets, something they have achieved in every game during the group phase this year.
“I hope my old players, such Om Thavarak, Neang Chenla, Meas Channa, Pok Chanthan and Teab Vathanak, will try their best with some of them playing for the last time in their football careers,” added the manager.
Meanwhile, Koh Kong’s first choice goalkeeper Soup Phy will be on the bench because of a leg injury. Coach Kao Sara is struggling to stay optimistic ahead of the match against one of the top clubs in the Kingdom.
“We are a young side, so it’s difficult to say positive, but we will try our best,” he said. “We have striker Hun Sopheak, who has scored goals in each game of the group stage.”
Kirivong Sok Sen Chey v Takeo
Sunday January 30 – 4:30pm
The final game of the weekend signifies a first in the knockout stage of the Samdech Hun Sen Cup, a match up featuring two provincial sides. To add to the excitement, the two teams from Takeo have progressed to face each other in what promises to be a dramatic derby clash.
Phan Chan Phath, manager of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, says his side have a “100 percent” chance of winning against Takeo because of their considerable experience in the top flight.
“We beat them in a friendly [during the off-season], so we can repeat it again,” he said.
Star striker In Vichheka, who with 15 goals so far in the tournament is one behind Preah Khan Reach’s Khoun Laboravy, is set to add to his tally and keep himself firmly in the hunt for the Golden Boot award.
On the other hand, forwards Meak Chhordaravuth and Pov Phearith, who were banned from group stage matches, will return to the squad after receiving an agreement with former club Chhma Khmao. “They are tall. They will play alongside In Vichheka to provide more firepower for Kirivong,”
Takeo coach Ith Vannarith is relishing Sunday’s match, but acknowledges the tough test they face in overcoming their provincial rivals.
“In football, there is no mercy. We both will try our best to win the game,” he said. According to the coach, among three players in his side that have played previously for Kirivong, only defender Hang Chantrea is confirmed for Sunday, while Him Salam and Mam Sophal are doubtful with health problems.