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Sokpheng’s Malaysian sojourn cut short

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
PKNP’s head coach Abu Bakar Fadzim confirmed the departure of Keo Sokpheng. Courtesy Keo Sokpheng

Malaysia Super League club Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak (PKNP) have announced the release of Cambodian international striker Keo Sokpheng.

PKNP’s head coach Abu Bakar Fadzim confirmed the departure during the post-match press conference after a 1-1 draw with PKNS FC on Friday.

“Yes, [He] was struggling to get into the team. It’s his first time outside of Cambodia and he found it hard to cope with the demands, explained coach Fadzim. “He doesn’t have the physique, no defending and is only good with the ball on his feet. So we discussed and maybe he was homesick. He understands the situation and it was a mutual decision to end his time here.”

“For now, we will discuss with the management whether we still need to sign a fifth import. Because what we saw against Felda and PKNS, is that we could cope with just the four. Gisung [Yeon] hasn’t scored thus far, he had many chances on target but still not found the net yet. But we will give them more chances,” the coach added.

Sokpheng had made an early impression on the MSL after the former Boeung Ket and Phnom Penh Crown forward stole the limelight in the opening round of league matches.

He helped his new employers to a winning start scoring in a narrow 1-0 home victory over Negeri Sembilan.

His match winner – in the 49th minute – had come via a superb through ball from former Crown teammate Korean attacker Gisung as Sokpheng slotted the ball expertly through the visiting keeper’s legs. The goal had given him the distinction of being the first goalscorer of the 2018 MSL season.

However, since that dazzling debut, his struggles with injuries and homesickness have curtailed his Malaysian sojourn.

The Malaysian Football Association announced late last year they would be emulating their Thai counterparts by implementing an Asean player quota.

The Malaysian Football Association confirmed the quota would be in effect on a trial basis for five seasons starting from the 2018 season before a review in 2022.

Under the new rules, Malaysian Super League clubs are able to register three foreign players, one Asian player and an Asean player. Previously, clubs were only allowed to register a maximum of four foreigners with one signing coming from Asia.

Former Metfone C-League players Chan Vathanaka, Thierry Chantha Bin, and Prak Mony Udom continue to turn out for Pahang FA, Terengganu, and Negeri Sembilan respectively.

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