The Cambodian national football team coach has urged his young players to show their worth in tonight’s AFC Cup group match against Afghanistan.
At yesterday’s press conference in Tajikistan where the match will be played, Prak Sovannara said while the game would be inconsequential in terms of progress to the round, it remained important.
“The game against Afghanistan is important like any international match, said the coach. “We won’t be taking it easy I can assure you of that. But competitive gametime is important.
The 45-year-old also highlighted the importance of a good performance ahead of their impending tournament date in Brunei for the Sixth Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy U21 football competition. The championship is organised by the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam and the Asean Football Federation. All member nations are expected to field teams.
His views were echoed by national team midfielder Thierry Chantha Bin, Cambodia’s captain; “The game is still important for experience for the young players, but also in terms of FIFA rankings,” said Thierry who currently turns out for Malaysian Super League side Terengganu. “Good to keep up the FIFA rankings.”
In the current FIFA rankings released this month, the Cambodian team is ranked at 171, while Otto Pfister’s Afghanistan squad is ranked 148th.
Sovannara’s Cambodia are drawn in Group B alongside Singapore and Laos. Group A consists of Thailand, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, and hosts Brunei. The coach has called up a slew of new faces in his 23-man squad including defenders Sath Rosib of Boeung Ket and Phnom Penh Crown duo of Ouk Sovan and Yue Safy. They are joined in the squad by Sok Heang of Ministry of National Defense and Mat Noron of Electricite du Cambodge.
They are bolstered by their Malaysia-based quartet of Chan Vathanaka, Keo Sokpheng, Prak Mony Udom, Thierry Chantha Bin.
Cambodia are tonight attempting a double over group C rivals Afghanistan whom they beat 1-0 last year in Phnom Penh. Both teams are already out of the running for the competition proper with Jordan and Vietnam claiming first and second positions in the group respectively.