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Vathanaka is better than ever, claims Socheat

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Chan Vathanaka returned to Boeung Ket for the second round of the Metfone Cambodian League. FFC

Boeung Ket coach Hao Socheat has revealed that striker Chan Vathanaka had improved over the past year and was a more mature player both on and off the pitch.

Vathanaka returned to Boeung Ket for the second round of the Metfone Cambodian League 2019, signing a three-year contract, after departing from Malaysian Super League club PKNS FC. But coach Socheat said he found the young starlet had matured after his overseas experience.

“His first appearance in this league against Crown came this year and I think he is doing well, coach Socheat told CNCC. “He has scored two goals and one assist. But I think he is playing 80% of his ability. While in Malaysia, he trained very hard and played many games, so I think he is not fully fit. He is coming back soon, but I am sure he will soon return to his best.”

The 25-year old forward rejoined Boeung Ket for a third time last month with the news met with excitement from fans of the former C-League champions.

“Vathanaka’s return is good for us in the second half of the C-League. He has good points which will help us out where we are lacking,” said coach Socheat.

National team coaching duo Keisuke Honda and Felix G. Dalmas left fans searching for answers recently after omitting Vathanaka for the recently concluded double-header against Pakistan.

While his Malaysia-based compatriot Thierry Chantha Bin found a place in Honda’s 25-man squad, Vathanaka, much to the chagrin of fans, did not receive a call-up after struggling to break into the first eleven at PKNS. His contract for the second half of the Malaysian Super League was not renewed. He made 13 appearances and netted three goals in his short stint.

He was previously at Pahang of the Malaysian Super League in 2018 – although it was a spell he would want to forget.

His spell at Pahang FA came to an abrupt end in April 2018, a little under five months after making a high-profile switch to the Malaysian Super League club. Vathanaka found himself expendable with the club’s coach Dollah Salleh choosing to replace him with Issey Nakajima.

Socheat added that CV11, as he is also known, was a better player than last year.

“He has grown so much in this profession, said Socheat. “At the training ground he tries to work twice as hard, and he speaks words of encouragement and shares experience from with young players in the team. He motivates all teammates to work hard together.”

Socheat’s Boeung Ket will face Electricte du Cambodge in their next league match on Sunday afternoon.

Also in action on Sunday afternoon are Angkor Tiger who play host to Kompong Cham. In the evening fixtures Table-topping Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng hope to continue their dominance as they welcome Soltilo Angkor. Phnom Penh Crown face Bati Under 18s in the final match of the weekend.

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