Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vietnam camp helping U23s

Vietnam camp helping U23s

Vietnam camp helping U23s


Preparations for the SEA Games have taken the U23 national football team to Vietnam where a strict training camp has helped improve their match fitness

THE Cambodian U23 national football squad have spent the past three weeks in Vietnam undergoing a rigorous training regime in preparation for the 25th Southeast Asia Games that begin in Vientiane December 2. National team coach Scott O’Donell and his 25-man squad have two more weeks in their training camp at the Thanh Long training facility, half an hour outside of Ho Chi Minh City, before they return home November 5 to compete in the four-team BIDC Cup that will take place at Olympic Stadium from November 8-14.

O’Donell has been pleased with his squad’s preparations so far. “We have been able to totally focus on our football without any outside distractions, and we get to use the excellent training facilities here at Thanh Long,” he told the Post by email Monday. “A typical day starts with training at 6:45am, and we break for breakfast at 9:30am. We have lunch at 1pm, resume training at 3:45pm, finish for dinner at 6:30pm and are in bed by 10pm. We’ve been into town a couple of times just to get the players out of the training centre and give them time to relax. But the players know we are not here for a holiday; we are here to prepare for the SEA Games in December.”

The Australian-born coach noted how the players’ endurance fitness levels were not good enough on arrival in Vietnam, which he says was a little surprising considering the players had just completed the Cambodian Premier League (CPL) season. “We have also been working on technique and tactics, and how I want the team to play,” he asserted. “We re-tested the players’ aerobic fitness levels again today, and there has been a big improvement from all the players, after 21 days of hard work.”

There have been a couple of alterations to the original 25-man squad that began the training camp. Two National Defence Ministry players, To Vann Thann and Ieng Piseth, have arrived to replace Nhuon Chansothea and Chhim Sambo. The squad’s main injury concern has been star striker Khim Borey, who missed most of the last CPL campaign with an ankle injury. To claw back his fitness, he’s been undertaking extra training sessions and concentrating on his speed and agility that saw him collect the Golden Boot top scorer award in the 2008 domestic season.

O’Donell highlighted the importance of the practice matches the team has played so far, against Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai Bien Hoa, both of which they won. “These games are very important because it gives us the chance to try the things we have been working on in training in game situations against strong opposition,” he stated. “You can work all you like on the training field, but it’s not until the players are under pressure in game situations that you find out if they understand what we have been working on.”

The U23s are scheduled to play three more practice games, beginning with a match today against two-time V-League champions Dong Tam Long An, before returning home.

For O’Donell, the BIDC Cup, with a purse of US$20,000 for the winners, will act as another important stepping stone to the SEA Games. “I will be using the BIDC Cup as a dress rehearsal for the SEA Games. It will be a good opportunity for the players to show what they can do and to confirm their places for the Games. My expectations will be the same for any game that we play – the players go out and try to play good football and to give 100 percent.”

Photos by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and