Friday, January 30, 2009

Footy in April

At last, there's some news on the Cambodian national football team front and it's confirmation that they have some games coming up in early April, in Bangladesh of all places. It is the qualifying group stage of the AFC Challenge Cup where 16 nations, split into four groups, will play round-robin league matches and the top team from each group and the best runner-up will go through to the 8-team final round (to be played in 2010). Already through are the reigning champs India, Tajikistan and DPR Korea. So who are Cambodia paired against I hear you ask? Well, Bangladesh for starters, as they are hosting all the Group A games and hope their new Brazilian coach, Dido, will have some magic up his sleeve. Also Cambodia will face Myanmar (as they did in the recent Suzuki Cup, where they lost 3-2) and the winners of Macau or Mongolia, who will play a pre-qualifying decider beforehand. On paper (well, the FIFA world rankings anyway) Myanmar and Bangladesh are 'better' than Cambodia but it's all pretty close stuff and Cambodia coach Prak Sovannara would be well served to get some friendly games in before the visit to Bangladesh, but with the Hun Sen Cup in full flow and the Premier League to start soon, he may not get that benefit. Let's hope the Cambodian FA see sense and give him that fair crack of the whip I've been talking about.

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