Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Positively speaking

Wide right midfielder Prak Mony Udom was 17 less than 2 months ago
Let's take a look at some of the positives from the Cambodian Under-23 squad that faced Singapore on Sunday and who were on the wrong end of a 6-nil drubbing. It was their first game together after just six training sessions as a 25-man squad, which was selected by national coach Scott O'Donell after trials a couple of months ago. He's already indicated that this team will form the backbone of the full national team in the future, as he regards this squad as the cream of the homegrown talent in the Cambodian Premier League. The age limit is 23, as that same limit will apply in the SEA Games in December, and the squad has four baby-faced players aged just 17, namely Peng Bunchhay, Prak Mony Udom - he was 17 in August and is the squad's youngest player - Oum Kumpheak and Keo Sokngorn, the Cambodian U-19 captain. All four appeared for the U-19 team in recent internationals, alongwith Lorn Sotheara. Four of the squad are 18 years old - Lorn Sotheara, Nov Soseila, Sok Rithy and Nhuon Chansothea, and four are 19 years old - Samreth Seiha, Lay Raksmey, Chhim Sambo and Phuong Narong. The twenty year olds number three in total, Khim Borey, Sou Yaty and Pheak Rady, whilst 21 is the age of the captain for the Singapore game, Sun Sovannarith and Khuon Laboravy. Four players are aged 22 - Kuoch Sokumpheak, Chan Chhaya, Chhun Sothearath and Peng Pancharong. The older members of the squad, at 23, are Tieng Tiny, San Narith, Keo Kosal and the squad's oldest player, Chan Dara. The five squad players who didn't get to see action against Singapore were Peng Bunchhay, Peng Pancharong, Chhim Sambo and the two injured players, Khim Borey and San Narith.
Defender Chan Dara is the oldest player in the Cambodia U23 squad at 23
17 of the players were involved with their club sides in the Super 4 championships the day before, and only 2 players stayed on the field for 90 minutes aginst Singapore, Sun Sovannarith and Tieng Tiny. It's a very young squad with lots of room for the players to grow into international football with the right coaching and support, which has been sadly lacking until recently. The players will be disappointed with the Singapore result but put into perspective, they were up against a well-drilled team, many of whom play for the Young Lions nursery club side, and who've had a series of friendly games in their long lead-in preparation time to the SEA Games. This was Cambodia's first game and they have a way to go to match their opponents, but that's exactly why matches against good calibre teams will identify areas of required improvement well ahead of the tournament.
Left back Sun Sovannarith started the Singapore game as captain and played throughout the match

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