National team coaching duo Keisuke Honda and Felix G. Dalmas have once again left fans searching for answers after yesterday’s release of a 35-man selection ahead of their impending FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & Asian Cup 2023 preliminary group stage double header against Hong Kong and Bahrain.
Fan favourite Chan Vathanaka, who is back in the Metfone C-League with Boeung Ket, will not feature despite recently winning a C-League Player of the Month award. Also joining CV11 in international exile are Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng attacker Prak Mony Udom and Malaysia-based Thierry Chantha Bin. Despite the lack of experienced members, a number of young faces have made the cut and will be keen to impress in training.
The coaching team is expected hold a press conference in the capital in the coming days where media are expected to field questions regarding the absence of the trio.
During the first stage of qualification, a double-header against Pakistan – the omission of Vathanaka was met with consternation by many on social media. He has won 45 caps for the Angkor Warriors scoring 16 goals in the process. Mony Udom has been out of domestic league contention through injury which could explain his exclusion, while Chantha Bin has been turning out with regularity for Terengganu FC in Malaysia.
In July, Cambodia were drawn in group C – alongside Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong and group favourites Iran – for the second round of the Asian qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
With the kingdom playing two group games next month, they first welcome Hong Kong to Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium next Thursday before the visit of Bahrain on September 10.
Despite missing Vathanaka, Cambodia stamped their ticket for the group round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 & AFC Asian Cup 2023 Joint Qualifiers after defeating Pakistan 4-1 on aggregate in June.