Wednesday, November 11, 2009

O'Donell on the SEA draw

Cambodia's national coach Scott O'Donell speaks about the SEA Games draw
Taking a break from the BIDC Cup for a moment, the draw for the SEA Games football competition was completed this week and threw up a very strong Group A that Cambodia will do exceptionally well to qualify from. There are five teams in the group and they include the 8 times gold medalists Thailand, much-fancied Vietnam, Malaysia, Timor-Leste and Cambodia. That will mean 4 games in a week for each of the teams. Two teams will qualify for the semi-finals to be played the following week. The first round of matches begin on 2 December.
I asked Cambodia's coach Scott O'Donell for his thoughts on the draw.
"I have to admit that it is a very difficult group, but we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that when we are competing in these regional tournaments, there are no easy games. I am looking forward to the SEA Games to see how my young players cope playing against such quality opposition. From the videos I have watched and the scouting reports that I have received so far, Vietnam and Thailand seem to be the two strongest sides going into the SEA Games.
"We have to be realistic, it is going to be very hard [to qualify]. But as I continually say to the boys, the most important thing is for them to go out and try to put into practice what we have been working so hard on in training and to give everything we have for the team. If we go out and give our best then I cannot ask for anymore.
"Yes it will be tough [4 games in a week] but it will be tough for the other teams as well. By the time the SEA Games commences we will have finalized the squad and will have 20 players who I have the confidence in to go out and do their best for Cambodia. In regards to my planning for the SEA Games, it will stay as planned. There was always going to be a chance that we would be playing four games. I see it as another international game where my players will get the opportunity to play against international opposition where they will gain invaluable experience."
In Group B, the hosts Laos will meet Myanmar, Singapore and Indonesia. All of the countries will be playing their Under-23 teams.

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