Former Cambodian national team coach Leonardo Vitorino stoked a war of words after uploading a scathing Facebook post criticising the reaction of an unnamed coach and an unnamed “fan” after Cambodia’s 1-0 AFC Cup group C defeat to Jordan earlier this week.
Vitorino, who was relieved of his duties only eight months into his tenure, is now back in Brazil, although – if Facebook comments are an indication – his swiping remarks at the perceived short-term vision of administrators at the top of Cambodian football have won support among many Cambodian fans.
“Now these two people [are] celebrating!! The Parrot (one manager that talking too much all the time [when] National Team lose and the EX Swimming girl) It’s crazy but they celebrate losing by just a small numbers of goals!!!, reads the post, which some fans speculate are a reference to Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng coach Vandeth Sam and the kingdom’s Olympic swimmer Hem Thon Vitiny, partner of national team player Samoeun Pidor whom Vitorino suspended in August for disciplinary reasons.
He went on to allege that fans were tiring of losing and that was the reason for the low turnout of 13,000 during the defeat to Jordan.
He added: “I prefer to celebrate winning games! I prefer support my national team to WIN the game and develop young players!! Others lose game but most disappointing is the absence of public in stadium!!
“You destroyed the football!! Now need [to] start again from zero!”
Vitorino was installed in March and suffered a 7-0 collapse to Jordan in his first competitive match. The former Lanexang United tactician led Cambodia to a single win over Afghanistan, his final act as head coach a 5-0 drubbing by Vietnam.
Cambodia have won just a single game in 2017 with heavy defeats coming from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Vietnam.
Vitorino had maintained throughout his time in charge that he had a long-term vision for Cambodia, and with the backing of the Football Federation of Cambodia was seeking to recuperate the footballing culture of the country.
He also said he was a fan of attacking football and slated Cambodia’s “Park the Bus” tactics against Jordan. Cambodia had a single shot on target against Jordan, while the visitors were repelled on 23 occasions by man of the match goalkeeper Sou Yaty.
Prak Sovannara, Cambodia’s incumbent coach, said he was pleased with his players despite the recent defeat.
“They [Jordan] are one of the top teams in Asia, but I appreciate what they achieved,” he said. “As we were playing for a 0-0 draw we tried not to concede.
“We did a good job even though we lost. I am happy and accept the result.”
Away from the drama of the international stage, the Metfone C-League is the focus for the weekend as it enters match week 20 with teams still fighting for four play-off spots.
Tomorrow’s highlight pits second-placed NagaWorld against AEU at the Army Stadium in a 6 pm kick-off.
Defending champs Boeung Ket face Electrcite du Cambodge, while Phnom Penh Crown travel to Western Stadium for their afternoon encounter with Western.
On Sunday, league leaders PKR Svay Rieng welcome CMAC to the Svay Rieng stadium. Cambodian Tiger versus National Police and National Defence Ministry and Kirivong Sok Sen Chey round off the weekend fixtures.