Captain fantastic responds to criticism

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Khuon Laboravy has been stoutly defended by Cambodia coach Leonardo Vitorino.

Cambodian national football team captain Khuon Laboravy has responded to criticism over his selection in the starting eleven in Tuesday evening’s AFC Asian Cup 2019 group C win over Afghanistan.
The 28-year old Boeung Ket striker has been a target of criticism by many fans for a less than stellar goalscoring record in national team colours. Laboravy has hit the back of the net just 10 times in 51 games and was last on target during the friendly defeat to India in March.
A fan posted a critical social media comment about coach Leonardo Vitorino’s choice to continue to place faith in the two-time C-League winner. 
Laboravy, who played the full 90 minutes on Tuesday, humbly thanked the contributor for his comments and said the decision to start him in the match was out of his hands.
“Thank you for your comments. Whether in the starting eleven or the reserves it is not my decision. It is at the absolute discretion of the head coach,” said Laboravy.
The fan’s post – in Khmer – had advised Cambodia’s head coach to drop Laboravy from the starting eleven. 
“Thanks Boravy for helping the team. But can you please keep him as a reserve player for second match? I think he shouldn’t be in the first eleven. He isn’t as strong as before but I really appreciate his good technique,” reads the post.
Coach Vitorino had vociferously come to the defence of his Number 9 after Tuesday’s win.
“The relentless criticism of Laboravy is not a good thing. He helps the team in so many ways. He contributes a lot in every match, whether in attack or defence he is always actively trying to help the team,” said the Brazilian.
“I used him much more than before because he is a strong forward and also has no problems coming back to defend free-kicks.” 
After three straight losses for coach Vitorino, Cambodia took advantage of a shocking blunder from the opposing goalkeeper to beat Afghanistan 1-0 at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
The win, Vitorino’s first in charge of the national team, pushed Cambodia up to second in group C behind Jordan who were held to a goalless draw by third-placed Vietnam. The Kouprey’s third AFC Asian Cup group c game will be an intriguing home tie against Asean rivals Vietnam on September 5.

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