Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vittorino to mix youth, experience



Vittorino to mix youth, experience

Leonardo Vittorino, the head coach of the Cambodian national side, speaks at a press conference at Olympic Stadium yesterday.
Leonardo Vittorino, the head coach of the Cambodian national side, speaks at a press conference at Olympic Stadium yesterday.

Vittorino to mix youth, experience

The head coach of Cambodia’s national team, Leonardo Vittorino, has opted for a blend of youth and experience in picking 25 probables for two crucial home engagements at Olympic Stadium over the next two weeks – a friendly against Indonesia on June 8 and five days later an AFC Asian Cup qualifying group clash with Afghanistan.

The Brazilian, who took over from South Korea’s Lee Tae Hoon earlier this year, made it clear at a news conference yesterday that he had a long-term view of building a strong team by making the selections purely on the merit of training and performance.

“Football is all about second chances, so I have given a few players an opportunity to get back to the team, while I have kept out a few regulars who I thought did not train well enough. I have retained some experienced players, at the same time making way for promising youngsters,” the coach said, laying out what he called his strategic plan to build Cambodian football at all levels.

The coach insisted that his abiding principle has always been to reward players who worked hard in practice and played harder on the pitch. He said a close eye had been kept on each and every player and their attitudes towards training, teamwork and commitment, while carefully assessing them in making these choices.

However, he said there was always an opening for those who were not on the list to work themselves back to contention. At the same time, he warned players not to take their selection for granted.

‘Discipline, devotion important’
“Every player must earn his place. There is no such thing as superstars. I want players who deem themselves irreplaceable to know that we have youngsters to take their place if they don’t perform or train,” he said.

“For me discipline and devotion to training is very important.”

Although, Vittorino found himself on the wrong side of Cambodia’s 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Jordan two months ago in his first game in charge, the Brazilian said he was looking forward to a better performance from his players against Afghanistan, who beat the Angkor Warriors twice during the World Cup qualifiers under the supervision of Lee Tae Hoon.

“The international friendly against Indonesia is very important for us. Indonesia are a strong team, we have not beaten them in 20 years. They are not in the Asian Cup qualifiers but they are preparing for the SEA Games in Malaysia.

“So they will certainly try out various formations and players, so it is a tough match ahead of our June 13 game against Afghanistan,’’ he said.

While Vittorino was reluctant to discuss individual players, either picked or omitted, he made it a point to explain in detail why he regarded Chan Vathanaka as a great asset for the team and his inclusion in the list.

“Many people in Cambodia may not know this Vathanaka has been going through special fitness training in Japan. When most of his fellow players train once a day, he has been training twice. He is not waiting for things to change [in Cambodian football] he wants to bring that change to the team,” the Brazilian said.

List of probables
Goalkeepers: Sou Yaty, Hul Kimhuy (FFC Academy), Om Sereyroth, Out Udom
Defenders: Chhom Pisa, Nub Tola, Chantha Bin Thierry, Soeuy Visal, Nen Sothearoth, Seut Baraing, Ros Samuoen, Chhin Chhouen
Midfielders: Tith Dina, Prak Mony Odom, Chreng Polroth, Brak Thiva, In Sodavid, Son Vandeth
Forwards: Keo Sokgnon, Keo Sokpheng, Khun Laboravy, Chan Vathanaka, Noun Borey, Sary Matnorotin

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting