The Football Federation of Cambodia has announced the appointment of Leonardo Luis of Brazil as the head coach of the national team on a one-year contract, ending incumbent Lee Tae-hoon’s second stint in charge.
The 44-year-old Brazilian left Lao club Lanexang United to take up the post. He had previous coaching roles with Thai giants Buriram United’s B team for a short while and a six-year association with Qatar’s Al Gharafa.
South Korean Lee, who served his first term between August 2010 and May 2012, ranks as the second-longest serving coach after Joachim Fickert of Germany, who served from June 1996 to January 2003.
Lee was the first coach in the history of Cambodian football to steer the side to the group stage of the World Cup Qualifiers in 2015 and is also the first to guide the side to the third round of the Asian Cup. He led Cambodia to the Suzuki Cup proper after a break of eight years following a successful qualification campaign.
Introducing the new coach to the members of the media at the Phnom Penh Hotel yesterday, the president of the FFC, Sao Sokha, indicated that the appointment of Leonardo Luis was an experiment to create a new environment to build the national side as the country embarked on its mission to seek football glory at the 2023 games, which are to be hosted by the Kingdom for the first time.
The Federation has retained the services of Lee as the coach of the National Academy and the Under 15 team. He will also serve as the technical adviser to Svay Rieng FC.
“I am not a Brazilian now – I am a Cambodian. I live here and I work for the country. Football is not a game of individuals, its all about teamwork. So I want every member of the team to work hard for his place and work together as a team,” Leonardo Luis said when asked of his footballing philosophy.
Asked whether he would seek the services for major events of Chan Vathanaka, who is on loan from Boeung Ket to Japanese third division club Fujieda MYFC, Leonardo Luis replied that while Vathanaka was a player of high quality and deserved consideration, those playing in Cambodia also merited serious attention.