Sunday, April 19, 2009
Just a quick update on the Cambodia national football team, who are due to fly out to Bangladesh on Friday 24 April to play three games in search of qualification from their AFC Challenge Cup Group matches. None of this getting there early to acclimatize rubbish for the Cambodians. They will arrive, have time to unpack and then play their opening game against their hosts, Bangladesh, at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, on Sunday 26th April. They will then meet Macau - who defeated Mongolia on away goals in a 3-3 two-legged delayed pre-qualifying decider - on the 28th and another couple of days later, they face Myanmar. Three games in six days. A tall order for anyone and Bangladesh and Myanmar lie above Cambodia in the FIFA rankings league, so qualification would be a big feather in coach Prak Sovannara's cap. He's already taken then to the AFF Suzuki Cup Finals at the back end of last year and has been getting his 22-man squad in shape before they depart. I called him this afternoon and interupted him talking to his squad of players - I don't think Fabio Capello would've been so understanding! He graciously called me back ten minutes later to tell me the squad have been training hard at the national football centre just outside the city and will fly to Bangladesh a couple of days ahead of their first match. I hope to visit the team and chat to the coach before they depart to bring you more from the national football camp before the tournament. And I've just heard that the Cambodia Premier League will begin their season on Saturday 2 May, with a 10-team top division. All games will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh and the league will be wrapped up by late September.