Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The trouble at SEA Games

The trouble at SEA Games

The trouble at SEA Games

111111_19
Cambodia’s Chhin Chhoeun netted a screamer against Singapore, probably their only high point at the 26th SEA Games.

The Cambodian national U23 football team are almost certain to continue their record of never making the knockout stage of the SEA Games after suffering losses in their first two Group A matches in Jakarta this week.

In this evening’s fixture at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, the side coached by South Korean Lee Tae-Hoon faces the near impossible task of overcoming 13-times winners Thailand. They will then come up against reigning champions Malaysia in their remaining group tie on Sunday.

A defensive crisis still lingers having let in six goals against hosts Indonesia during their opening game and, despite a wonder goal from Chhin Chhoeun against Singapore on Wednesday, the Cambodians will be struggling to keep up spirits.

The winger’s strike, a cross-come-shot from the right which miraculously looped over the keeper’s head to nestle in the top far corner of the net, was wiped out by two uncontested headers in the second half after Singapore had applied relentless pressure.

Lee Tae-Hoon’s backline have been woeful in the air, with five of the eight goals conceded so far in the tournament coming from headers.

Pen Phath, the former Cambodian international well-known during the 1960s and 70s and currently coaching Cambodian footballers in France, told the Post during his hometown visit yesterday that in the modern world of football, the Kingdom is not far off the level of neighbouring nations, particularly in terms of fitness, but the big problem is a lack of commitment.

“If all players look at the flag [on their shirts] and remember they are playing for their national team, the nervous feelings should disperse and they will perform better in contests,” he said, adding that the individualistic attitude of players can destroy the whole game.

The 63-year-old coach, who played for Rapracha FC in Thailand’s top flight from 1972-1977 and was named one of the best 11 players in Asia in 1972, noted that Cambodia could match the best in the region if they played with real conviction and a clear strategy, and didn’t admit defeat too early.

The Thai U23 squad, meanwhile, will try to salvage their campaign after a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Malaysia. In their last seven head-to-head meetings at the SEA Games, Thailand have dominated Cambodia with six wins, including their biggest winning margin of 9-0 in 1995. A 1-1 draw in 1971 was the only slight blemish on the Thai’s record. During the previous SEA Games in Laos two years ago, Thailand won 4-0.

Cambodia have also never beaten Malaysia, who interestingly mirrored Thailand in inflicting a 9-0 demolition in 1995 and a 4-0 rout in 2009.

Malaysia and Singapore currently share the lead of Group A with four points a piece, while Cambodia foot the table. Myanmar and 2009 runners-up Vietnam top Group B on seven points, with games playing over the weekend at the Lebak Bulus stadium. 

TRANSLATED BY IN SOPHENG

Weekend Fixtures
Friday November 11

  • Singapore v Indonesia – 2pm
  • Philippines v Laos – 4pm
  • Thailand v Cambodia – 5pm
  • Saturday November 12
  • Brunei v Vietnam – 4pm

Sunday November 13

  • Malaysia v Cambodia – 4pm
  • Philippines v Myanmar – 4pm
  • Indonesia v Thailand – 7pm
  • East Timor v Laos – 7pm

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance