Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sovannara to put focus on Brunei U21 tournament



Sovannara to put focus on Brunei U21 tournament

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian national head coach Prak Sovannara has said he intends to use the Hassanal Bolkiah U21 Trophy to give promising youngsters a chance to prove their ability.

Sovannara to put focus on Brunei U21 tournament

Cambodian national head coach Prak Sovannara is sharpening his focus on a trip in April to Brunei Darussalam for the Sixth Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy U21 football tournament named after the King of Brunei.

With less than a month to go until Cambodia’s tough encounter with Afghanistan in their final Group C fixture in the third round of Asian Cup qualifying at a neutral venue in Tajikistan, Sovannara said he has one eye on youth ahead of the upcoming event for Asean member states.

Launched in 2002, the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy youth championship is organised by the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam in collaboration with the Asean Football Federation and involves all member nations.

Cambodia made the semifinals of the tournament in 2007 before going down 10-1 to Thailand, while in 2012 and 2014 the Young Warriors exited in the group stage.

The Football Federation of Cambodia decided to retain the services of Sovannara with a caveat that his tenure would last until the Federation succeeded in ongoing talks to seek a coach from the Czech Republic.

Nearly three weeks after Brazilian Leonardo Vitorino was sacked, the 45-year old Sovannara, who was the first coach from the Kingdom to earn an Asian Football Federation A licence, was recalled in early November last year for his third stint at international level for the friendly against Myanmar, which preceded Cambodia’s home clash against Jordan in Asian Cup qualification.

The team far exceeded expectations by holding out well against a superior Jordan before losing 1-0 at Olympic Stadium, against the backdrop of the team having been beaten 7-0 in Amman in the first leg at the start of the campaign under Vitorino’s watch.

Give youth a chance

Having been convinced that the former Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng, NagaWorld and Boeung Ket coach was the logical choice to pull the national team in the right direction, the FFC has firmly put their faith in him.

Acknowledging the huge responsibility on his shoulders, Prak Sovanara told The Post, in an exclusive chat on the sidelines of the FFC Congress at the start of the week, that the ideal strategy at this stage would be to look to consolidate the national team and infuse a winning attitude in the players.

“I am not playing down the significance of our match against Afghanistan on March 27 away in Tajikistan. We beat them at home for our only win so far, and we need to end this campaign on a positive note. But I am looking at the prospect of using the Asean stage that the Brunei tournament provides to strengthen the team,” Sovannara said.

“Football is all about talented youngsters getting the right break at the right time, and I intend to use this under-21 event to give promising youngsters a chance to prove their ability.”

As for team selection ahead of the Afghanistan tie, Sovannara said: “We already know almost all the players and their capabilities. I have a chance to look at three weeks of the new league season. I will go for the best I can pick and hope we do well.”

Meanwhile, the acting secretary-general of the FFC, May Tola, confirmed to The Post that the Czech initiative to secure the services of a well qualified coach was still “very much on”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The