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Svay Rieng FC to represent Cambodia in AFC Cup 2020

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
PKR Svay Rieng FC, skippered by Team Captain Soeuy Visal (right), will represent Cambodia in three international club competitions this year. KT/Yeun Punleau

Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC will play on behalf of Cambodia in the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2020.

This was confirmed by Conor Nestor, head coach of PKR Svay Rieng FC.

In a message sent through WhatsApp, Mr Nestor said the AFC CUP is among three international competitions this year that his team will play representing Cambodia.

PKR Svay Rieng FC is also slated to represent the Kingdom in the Asean Club Championship (ACC) 2020. “The third one is an Asean-based cup called the Mekong,” he said, apparently referring to the Mekong Club Championship.

The Toyota-sponsored Mekong Club Championship pits the domestic league winners from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Since its inception six years ago, Cambodia has mostly been represented by Boeung Ket Angkor, which played in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of the tournament.

In the AFC Cup 2020, Cambodia will play first in the qualifying playoffs. The seven winners (one each from East Asia Zone, South Asia Zone, West Asia Zone and Central Asia Zone, plus three from Asean Zone) will advance and join the 29 teams that have directly qualified for the group stage of the continental championship.

The 29 teams that already qualified for the group stage are Al-Jaish and Al-Wathba (Syria); Al-Faisaly and Al-Jazeera (Jordan); Al-Kuwait and Al-Qadsiya (Kuwait); Al-Riffa and Manama (Qatar); A-Ahed and Al-Ansar (Lebanon); Dhofar (Oman); Ho Chi Minh City and Than Quang Ninh (Vietnam); Ceres-Negros and Kaya-Iloilo (Philippines); Tampines Rovers and Hougang United (Singapore);Bali United (Indonesia); Shan United (Myanmar); Lao Toyota (Laos); Istiklol (Tajikistan); Altyn Asyr (Turkmenistan); Doldoi (Kyrgyzstan); Chennai City (India); TC Sports (Maldives); Bashundhara Kings (Bangladesh); Tai Po (Hong Kong); Tatung (Taiwan) and MUST CPK (Macao).

PKR Svay Rieng FC will be pitted against Master 7 of Laos in the qualifying playoffs. They will play two matches, with the first one in Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium on January 22. The next match will be played in Laos on Jan 29.

“We are looking forward to our upcoming games against Master 7 from Laos in the AFC Cup playoff starting with the first leg at the Olympic Stadium on January 22,” Mr Nestor said.

PKR Svay Rieng is expected to do well against their opponents from Laos. The reigning champion of the Cambodian League and 2019 Metfone C-League boasts of a formidable lineup composed of local and foreign players.

Among the top players for PKR Svay Rieng are mainstays Prak Mony Udom, Soeuy Visal , Nub Tola, Jean Befolo “Privat”Mbarga (Cameroon), Yeon Gi-sung (Korea) and Jonny Campbell (United States).

The Vientiane-based Master 7 plays in the Lao League, the top men’s football league in Laos. The team was runner-up in the 2019 Lao Premier League.

Master 7 also boasts of local and foreign talent, including Brazilian midfielder Sergio Barboza, who had a prior stint with PKR Svay Rieng FC.

To prepare for AFC Cup 2020, according to local media reports, PKR Svay Rieng will be departing for Malaysia this week for a series of tune-up games against top Malaysian teams, including Terengganu FC and Selangor FA.

The international friendlies that the Cambodian club played and won against MUST CPK of Macao last weekend were also part of their preparations for AFC Cup 2020 and other international club tournaments. MUST CPK, to recall, is among the early group stage qualifiers in the AFC Cup 2020.

The qualifying stage of the AFC Cup 2020 will be held between Jan 21 and Feb 26, 2020, while the competition proper (group stage) is slated between Feb 10 and Nov 7, 2020.

AFC CUP, which is held annually, is described as Asia’s secondary club football tournament. Al-Ahed of Lebanon are the defending champions.

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