The sixth edition of the invitational Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy youth championship will kick off on Monday with six teams from around the region joining Cambodia in the push for the top prize.
Teams are restricted to using only players aged Under-22. Cambodia have been drawn in Group B alongside Laos and Singapore. Hosts Brunei, Thailand, Myanmar and Timor Leste makeup Group A.
The championships aim to promote friendship among the participating teams. The tournament was first held in 2002 and this year’s edition will mark its sixth edition. In their 2012 and 2014 appearances, the young Angkor Warriors did not go beyond the group stage.
In an attempt to improve the kingdom’s fortunes, Cambodia coach Prak Sovannara has called up a slew of new faces in his 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.
“It is important to bring some youths in the squad. Our aim is to develop and give them the chance to get experience at international stage”, said Sovannara in a recent media interview.
Cambodia must wait until Saturday, April 28 for their first match which will see them face neighbours Laos. They then meet Singapore two days later for their final group match. Defending champions Myanmar will take on Thailand in their opening game on Tuesday, a day after the hosts play Timor Leste.
The winning team will earn $15,200, with $7,600 going to the runners-up. $3,800 has been allocated for joint third-placed teams.