Cambodia national team coaching duo Keisuke Honda and Felix Dalmas left fans searching for answers after the release yesterday of the squad for Thursday’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & Asian Cup 2023 qualification opener with one notable omission – Chan Vathanaka.
While his Malaysia-based compatriot Thierry Chantha Bin found a place in Honda’s 25-man squad, Vathanaka, who is currently on the books of PKNS in the Malaysian Super League, did not receive a call-up after struggling to break into the first eleven at the Red Ants.
Joining CV11 in international exile is NagaWorld keeper Sou Yaty. Honda and Dalmas have instead opted for trio Um Vichet, Keo Soksela, and Saveng Samnang.
The coaching team will hold a press conference in the capital tomorrow where Honda and Dalmas are expected to answer fans regarding the absence of Vathanaka.
Notable players making the cut are Kouch Sokumpheak, Keo Sokpheng, Yue Safy, Cheng Meng, and Prak Mony Udom.
Pakistan, Cambodia’s June 6 opponents, are ranked 200 in the FIFA World Rankings while Cambodia – arguably favourites for the match – are ranked 173rd in the world.
The June 11 away leg of the first-round tie is expected to be played in Doha. According to reports by Pakistani daily Dawn, FIFA has allocated a venue in Qatar.
The Angkor Warriors will be looking for a repeat of their March 2015 defeat of Macau 4-1 over two legs to gain a place in the second round of qualifiers.