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

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused