Friday, November 27, 2009

No real surprises

Chhun Sothearath is included in the SEA games squad having shaken off a knee injury
Cambodia's Australian-born coach Scott O'Donell today announced his Cambodian U23 20-man squad for the forthcoming SEA Games in Laos, the day before the players and coaching staff leave Phnom Penh and head northwards overland to the Lao capital of Vientiane, a trip that will take a full two days of travelling by bus. There were no real surprises in the final 20, selected after more than a month of intensive training and practice matches in Vietnam as well as the round-robin BIDC Cup which the Cambodian team won in fine style in front of 30,000 home fans in the final. Midfield dynamo Chhun Sothearath missed the BIDC Cup matches with a knee injury but has recovered enough to make the final squad, playing most of the midweek practice game against Can Tho, and will travel to Laos at the expense of Phuong Narong and Keo Kosal, who both featured in the recent friendly tournament. Also not in the travelling party are goalkeeper Peng Bunchhay, Ieng Piseth and To Vann Thann.
The team leave the Olympic Stadium just after 7am tomorrow morning and will cross the Cambodian-Laos border at Dong Kralor before an overnight stop en route at Pakse. Day 2 will be the eight to ten hour bus ride to the Lao capital Vientiane, where the 25th SEA Games are being held. The players will be housed in the athletes village and will be assigned a training location on arrival. Their first match isn't until 4 December which will give them an opportunity to see all their four opponents in Group A in action before they meet Thailand in their opening game. It's a tough opener for Cambodia as Thailand have won the last eight SEA Games football gold medals and beat their Khmer opponents 8-0 in the last SEA encounter in Khorat in 2007.
At the press conference this afternoon, led by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and the national Military Police commander Sao Sokha, various sponsors raised the stakes with financial incentives of up to $56,000 if the Cambodian team carry off the gold medal. The sponsors also promised monetary rewards for silver and bronze medals too. The sponsors were BBWorld, Crown Casino & Resort and the Ministry of Education, Youth & Sport. MetFone also promised individual incentives for the players and team as a whole, based on goals scored. A couple of days ago Thailand announced sums of over $150,000 if their team win the gold medal for the 9th consecutive time. The press conference attracted cameras from the numerous television channels including TV3, Bayon, Apsara, CTN, and more as well as the printed media as well.
I will be travelling with the team to Laos, to report on the SEA Games for the Phnom Penh Post, so this blog will be quiet for a couple of days as we hit the roads of Cambodia and our northern neighbour Laos. I'll bring you up to date with events on the road as soon as I can.

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Blogger CHAMROEUN said...

I really like him. He's best in free kick. Next year, he'll play for Phnom Penh Crown

November 28, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

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