Newly promoted Visakha FC unveiled their squad for the 2018 Metfone C-League season yesterday – featuring an accomplished North Korean forward.
Alongside his new teammates, Pak Song chol, 30, was presented before media at yesterday’s press conference at the Sokha Hotel.
The forward has played for North Korean outfit Rimyongsu ever since making his break into the first team in 2007 and possesses an international goalscoring record of 11 goals in 39 appearances, having made eight outings in World Cup qualifiers.
Visakha is led by former Cambodian superstar striker Hok Sochetra who, after leading the club to promotion last season and a place in the top tier of Cambodian football, said his grand visions for the club would depend on staying in the top league.
“Our goal for this year is not to finish below sixth. Whether we can win the league is not so sure, but for now our goal is sixth and above,” said the coach.
Sochetra also touched on rumours around Visakha acquiring exciting Cambodian midfielder Cherng Polroth.
“There was contact with Polroth, but we couldn’t reach an agreement [regarding transfer],” he said.
They have already secured the services of four North Korean players – Choe Myong-ho, Kim Kyong-hon, Ri Hyok-chol and Jang Song-hyok – who were instrumental in leading Ministry of National Defense to last season’s play-off final.
In a surprise move, Visakha have also brought in former Crown goalkeeper Keo Sokseila .
Visakha, who topped the C-League division 2 in 2017, have already created a stir by signing Boeung Ket full-back and national team regular Rous Samoeun, who was out of contract with the current C-League champs.
Samoeun, 23, has been a defensive mainstay at Boeung Ket and in his time helped the club to two C-League titles. His departure came as a shock to many of the club’s loyal fans.
They also added Ngoy Srin, who parted ways with NagaWorld at the end of his contract. Srin, 23, has been capped 11 times by the national team.
Elsewhere, Phnom Penh Crown confirmed the capture of Japanese defender Atsushi Shirota. He comes to the club via Hougang United of Singapore and is set to fill the void left by departed fan favourite Kok Boris.