The Football Federation of Cambodia has decided to retain the services of veteran Prak Sovannara as head coach for the country’s final Group C game against Afghanistan to be played at a neutral venue in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe on March 27, and his tenure could possibly last until the Federation succeeds 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 the international level for the friendly against Myanmar which preceded Cambodia’s home clash against Jordan in the Asian Cup qualification third round.
Though Cambodia went down fighting to Myanmar, the team far exceeded expectations by holding out well against a superior Jordan before losing 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium against the backdrop of the team having been beaten out of sight 7-0 in the first leg at the start of the campaign at Amman under Vitorino’s watch.
According to a spokesman for the Federation, the two results clearly stood out for Sovannara’s commitment to pull the national side back in the right direction and it was a logical choice to continue with him.
“I am very happy to be associated again with the national team, even if it is for [just] one more match. I would like to watch the first few weeks of the new league season starting on March 3 before finalising the list of players,” said Sovannara, who was the first coach of Cambodia to lead the Kingdom past the qualification stage into the AFC Suzuki Cup proper in 2009.
Meanwhile, FFC acting secretary-general May Tola confirmed to The Post that discussions at embassy level had been going on to seek technical assistance from the Czech Republic, including the services of a coach.
Asked about the prospects of Sovannara being retained through the season, Federation chief May Tola said: “A decision on this will be made later. It will also depend on the efforts currently underway in the Czech Republic.’’