Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hockey hopefuls beat Thai club in build-up to qualifiers for 2018 Youth Olympics



Hockey hopefuls beat Thai club in build-up to qualifiers for 2018 Youth Olympics

Cambodia’s young field hockey players beat Thai club Saraburi 5-2 on Wednesday. Supplied
Cambodia’s young field hockey players beat Thai club Saraburi 5-2 on Wednesday. Supplied

Hockey hopefuls beat Thai club in build-up to qualifiers for 2018 Youth Olympics

Cambodia’s raw but enthusiastic group of young field hockey players turned in a gutsy performance on Wednesday, beating one of Thailand’s frontline clubs Saraburi 5-2.

The victory came after Cambodia were outplayed by Thailand’s national team in a friendly just days earlier in the build-up to Asia zone Youth Olympic Games five-a-side hockey qualifiers to be held in Bangkok from April 25 to 29.

While Cambodia entered the women’s hockey arena a few years ago, this will be the first foray into regional competition by the Kingdom’s boys, who will be matching skills with some of the best in the continent aiming for two qualification spots to the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Argentina later this year.

Apart from Argentina as hosts, last year’s beaten finalists Canada and Mexico have already qualified from the Pan American zone.

While the Asia, Europe and Africa zones will send two teams each, Oceania has been granted three slots.

The Bangkok qualifiers will be contested by 11 teams after Oman pulled out.

Cambodia have been grouped with India, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore in Pool A, while Pool B is made up of Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Bangladesh and Chinese Taipei.

Despite falling behind twice, a strong second-half showing saw Cambodia sound the boards four times to complete a morale-boosting 5-2 win ahead of the qualifiers.

Saraburi shot into the lead nine minutes into the game, but Cambodia drew level within three minutes.

The Thai club then made it 2-1 just before half-time.

But after the restart it was Cambodia all the way as they scored at regular intervals in the second session.

‘Happy with our boys’

As the Khmer New Year celebrations were in full swing, the Kingdom’s young hockey hopefuls aiming for their first big competitive test could not match strides against a strong Thailand in the country’s first ever international hockey friendly.

Though Rama Anas managed to level Thailand’s first-half strike, the hosts were too strong and wily in the second half as they powered to a 5-1 win.

“This was a good game for us. The team had zero experience before today and this was our first international friendly,” team coach Asif Rana Masqsood said.

“I was happy with the way our boys handled the game against Saraburi. They were stiff competition for our team playing at this level in the qualifiers without any regional exposure at all.

“But playing against some of the best teams will certainly give our players a chance to improve in this futuristic 5s format,’’ Masqsood added.

The compact hockey 5s on a smaller field was introduced at the Youth Olympic Games in China’s Nanjing in 2014 after the inaugural edition in Singapore in 2010 used the outdoor format.

Australia beat Pakistan to clinch gold at the first ever Youth Olympics in 2010, and the Aussies went on to retain the gold four years later, beating Canada in the final 3-2 on penalties after regulation time ended 3-3.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro