Within days of expressing his disappointment at his team’s 3-1 loss to Commissary of National Police, Visakha coach Hok Sochetra has bolstered his side by drafting in former Phnom Penh Crown forward Keo Sokpheng, who also had a brief stint in Malaysia, and solid ex-Boeung Ket defender Sok Sovann.
However, they can only start for their new club in the second half of the Metfone C-League season and the Hun Sen Cup after the June 15-30 transfer window closes.
Like his national team colleagues Chan Vathanaka and Prak Mony Udom, Cambodia playmaker Sokpheng, with 34 caps, returned home from the Malaysian Super League much sooner than contracted after PKNP FC released him earlier this month.
The additions may strengthen Sochetra’s hand in pursuing his preferred formation after he was forced by circumstance to alter his line-up against Police to make up for the absence of key players in the backline, even employing some of his North Korean attackers in defensive work.
The coach’s frustration stemmed from Police scoring twice in the last few minutes of the game after his side had managed to stay on level terms until then at 1-1.
In their Saturday encounter at Old Stadium, Visakha will be up against a side that is well groomed and oozing with confidence The strength of Naga’s squad has shown in their performances so far, with George Bisan proving his worth with a merited brace against Ministry of National Defense last week.
Having scaled the top of the standings, two points ahead of defending champions Boeung Ket, NagaWorld will be eager to carry their momentum forward against Visakha, though the two-time champs will be well aware of the quality of opposition they will have to handle in their twilight encounter.
Before that marquee matchup, Boeung Ket take on visitors from Siem Reap Angkor Tiger at the same venue.
Held 1-1 by second bottom side Elecricite du Cambodge last week, Boeung Ket slipped off the top and will be keen on getting back to winning ways.
Away at AEU Sports Park, the home side will host Police, who have steadily climbed up the ladder to be joint third with Visakha.
On Sunday, Ministry of National Defense will hit the road to face Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng, loaded with questions about their own string of poor results. For last year’s runners-up, the campaign so far has been disappointing.
Inspired by the draw against Boeung Ket, EdC will welcome to their patch Soltilo Angkor from Siem Reap.
If there is one team in the field that will be desperate to break their seven-game losing streak, it is Western Phnom Penh. They square off against Phnom Penh Crown.