Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Warriors face Laos in Suzuki Cup qualifier



Warriors face Laos in Suzuki Cup qualifier

Chan Vathanaka (right) closes down a Laos player in their friendly match at Olympic Stadium on August 22, 2015.
Chan Vathanaka (right) closes down a Laos player in their friendly match at Olympic Stadium on August 22, 2015.

Warriors face Laos in Suzuki Cup qualifier

Head coach Lee Tae Hoon faces the toughest assignment of his nearly six-year stint with the national team as he leads Cambodia’s bid for qualification to the prestigious AFF Suzuki Cup with a tricky opener against archrivals Laos at Olympic Stadium at 6:30pm on Saturday evening.

The four-team qualifiers to fill just one slot in November’s regional showpiece kicks off with Brunei taking on Timor Leste at 3:30pm before the home side get down to business in search of the precious ticket that has eluded the Kingdom since 2008.

That lone success in the biennial tournament came at home under the stewardship of respected Cambodian coach Prak Sovanara and the South Korean Lee Tae Hoon is bidding hard to be the first foreigner to emulate that glory.

“The burden of expectation is very high especially when it comes to the Suzuki Cup qualification. I am optimistic about our chances this year since we have gone through some amazing experiences and produced some good results,” said Lee Tae Hoon, who is now the second longest serving foreign coach, having touched six years in two spells split by an almost one-year break.

The tactician’s main concern is how well the players have soaked up the experiences of crossing paths with some of the best teams in the region through the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying cycles.

“Unless our players play to their full potential and work hard as a team it is difficult to get the results we want. The stakes are high here. We can not afford a slip up against any of the three teams,” Lee Tae Hoon said.

Cambodia take the pitch on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-0 win last Sunday over Sri Lanka in an international friendly after a decidedly stronger Hong Kong had put them to sword twice.

Laos were hit by some injury concerns in their latest 1-1 draw against Maldives in the Play off round of the Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifiers, though the islanders won 5-1 on aggregate.

Laos have beaten Cambodia on some big occasions, notably the 2014 World Cup qualifiers after an astonishing turnaround at home for an 8-6 aggregate win, and enjoy a better record, having played in every championship since 1996.

Both Cambodia and Laos acknowledge the importance of winning the opener without losing sight of the fact that there are two other matches next week, with the Angkor Warriors tackling Brunei at 6:30pm on Tuesday and Timor-Leste at the same time next Friday.

MOST VIEWED

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”