After weeks of rumours, Chan Vathanaka, Cambodia’s prodigious forward, has announced his return to the Metfone C-League by rejoining former club Boeung Ket.
The news was announced at a Saturday press conference with Vathanaka appearing alongside the club general manager and owner.
Asked whether he was looking forward to donning the Boeung Ket jersey once more, Vathanaka said he was eager.
“We have a strong club president who has a strong commitment to the club. Our players also are committed to winning the league title for the third season in a row, said Vathanaka.
The 24-year old was previously at Pahang of the Malaysian Super League – although it was a spell he would want to forget.
His stint at Pahang FA came to an abrupt end in April, a little under five months after making a high profile switch to the Malaysian Premier League (MSL) club.
Vathanaka found himself expendable with the club’s coach Dollah Salleh choosing to replace him with Issey Nakajima.
Vathanaka’s place in coach Salleh’s squad had been precarious since the signing of Patrick dos Santos Cruz, a Brazilian forward who has notched nine goals in just 10 appearances. In his nine outings, Vathanaka had registered a single strike, in a league fixture against Kedah.
Pahang coach Salleh often expressed his frustration with Vathanaka, saying he felt 24-year-old forward was not showing any significant improvement and playing below expectations.
Salleh’s patience ran out after the club revealed their intentions to allow Vathanaka to leave. He became the second Cambodian to be cut in this MSL transfer window after Keo Sokpheng’s was also shown the exit door by PKNP FC.
Known affectionately to the kingdom’s football fans as CV11, Vathanaka has been a veritable revelation since emerging on the books of Metfone C-League club Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC in 2011.
After being coaxed into making the switch to rivals Boeung Ket, and undergoing an intensive change in diet and training, he soon progressed into a fearsome goal machine.
He hit a total of 60 across all competitions for club and country in 2015. He continued his goalscoring exploits in 2016, claiming a hat-trick against CMAC FC in his first start, going on to plunder 22 league goals as Boeung Ket beat Ministry of Defense FC to claim only their second league title.
2017 was an altogether disappointing affair. He found himself relegated to benchwarmer at J3-league club Fujieda MYFC. He ended his time in Japan last November, after a handful of substitute appearances and duly signed on at Pahang a month later.