Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - U16’s future looks bright under Daisuke Yoshioka

U16’s future looks bright under Daisuke Yoshioka

U16’s future looks bright under Daisuke Yoshioka

110316_22a
Cambodia national U16 team coach Daisuke Yoshioka of Japan answers questions at Olympic Stadium before the Samdech Hun Sen Cup final on Saturday.

One for all and all for one. This is B-licenced coach Daisuke Yoshioka’s recipe for the success of Cambodia’s National U16 football side he has been coaching for the last three months as the Youth Director of the Football Federation of Cambodia.

The 35-year-old Japanese tactician, whose high profile references include his role as NSCAA Premier Coach of the Development Assistance Programme for Asia, has no doubt in his mind that he is in the right place at the right time to steer this youth project in the right direction.

“I didn’t know much about Cambodian football when this offer came through,” he told The Post in an interview before the Samdech Hun Sen Cup final on Saturday. “I quickly checked some data and couldn’t quite figure out what to expect.

“But now I can tell you I am excited about the prospects of this team. I can assure you that it can only grow better. There is so much of promise and it can be turned into achievement,” he added.

“Talent-wise, Cambodia can easily match some its regional neighbours and I am surprised that the level of skill among young players here is even comparable to Japan.

“What is lacking is that fine blend of skill with mind and heart. Physicality is another critical component especially since some of the boys are small-made. I have already changed the conditioning regimen.”

A fitness freak in his playing days, Yoshioka is now putting the 30-strong national camp through two days of vigorous exercise a week.

“Until last year, I believe the players had only a couple of weeks of physical training [per year]. This can not be done in weeks it has to be an on-going process. As you develop your footballing skills you need to develop your body to cope with it,” he said.

The coach noted that his first lessons to his new class were on basic defensive tactics.

“Once I got them to understand the concept of protecting your territory, it was easy for them to follow the rest. Possession and passing came next and now they realise that football is a whole package of all these and not just individual excellence.”

The man who believes every cloud has a silver lining can take pride in an astonishing result the young Cambodians produced in upsetting a strong North Korean side 2-1 a few weeks ago in a friendly in Phnom Penh. It was a remarkable turnaround after having lost 11-0 to much the same side in a competition last year.

Multiple surgery on a troubled right ankle cut short Yoshioka’s hectic playing career that took him to several exciting footballing destinations around the world. He had a stints with Alemannia Aachen in Germany’s second tier, English league clubs Brighton & Hove Albion and Hastings United, and even Major League Soccer side the New England Revolution on a two-year contract in the US.

After obtaining a pro-licence to coach from the Brazilian football federation, Yoshioka met with his first significant success on the sidelines when he masterminded North Carolina University’s championship triumph. He was also associated with several top performances by J.League outfit Urawa Reds’ U15 and U15 squads, and holds fond memories of his time with Oita Trinite which against all odds won the 2008 J.League Cup and finished fourth in the J.League.

His footballing friends nicknamed him ‘the Giant Killer’ for his fearless attitude on the pitch, and the coach wants his Cambodian players to slam reputations just the way he loved to.

“The team is beginning to blend together and players need tough exposure. In April, we are planning a visit to Vietnam and we are exploring the possibility of taking the Cambodian team to Japan in May,” he said.

“By June, I want to identify a core of 23 players who will go through intense training in preparation for July’s AFF international event in Laos.”

Yoshioka also revealed that the  talented 17-year-old Kazuya Fukusaki from Japan is scheduled to train with the U16 squad here from March 25 to April 10. “It will be a useful experience for the boys here,” said the coach.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea