A year after his Pahang failure, Cambodia’s Chan Vathanaka is set to have a second crack at the Malaysian Super League after tying up a move to Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS).
The club, based in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, are managed by former Malaysian national football coach K. Rajagopal, who helped Malaysia win the 2009 SEA Games and the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 a year later. Last season, he helped the squad finish third in the Malaysian Super League.
A cryptic Vathanaka post first sparked rumours of a departure from Boeung Ket a month ago.
The post, which read; “It’s good news. Hopefully it will go smoothly. New Year. New success!” saw fans attempt to guess which club CV11 would be turning out for in 2019.
He can expect to face national teammate Thierry Chantha Bin who also plies his trade in the MSL at Terengganu FC.
Vathanaka returned to Boeung Ket for the second half of the 2018 season although he could not help them to retain the coveted C-League title as BK lost out to NagaWorld.
Late last year, Vathanaka revealed he would not be continuing at Boeung Ket and would instead attempt another spell in a foreign league.
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. Vathnaka registered a single goal in 12 appearances although he also provided two assists.
Pahang coach Salleh later expressed his frustration with Vathanaka, saying he felt the 24-year-old forward was not showing any significant improvement and playing below expectations.
Known affectionately to the kingdom’s football fans as CV11, Vathanaka has been a 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.
Malaysia’s Football Association had announced in 2017 they would be emulating their Thai counterparts by implementing an Asean player quota on a trial basis for five seasons starting from the 2018 season before a review in 2022.
Under the new rules, 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.