Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heading for disaster

He's had more lives than your average cat, Cambodia's national team coach, Lee Ta-Hoon
The feeling that Cambodia are heading for a disaster in the upcoming SEA Games is getting stronger by the minute. I saw for myself in 2009 how seriously the other teams in southeast Asia take this competition and how prepared their football teams are. Even though its played at U-23 level, countries like Vietnam and Thailand are determined to show their regional sporting strength and play as if their lives depended on it. Cambodia's team, who lost 1-0 to Nepal last night, and it wasn't Nepal's full senior squad in action whatever anyone tries to tell you, showed little in the way of sparkle considering they have this important competition just days away. In fact, Lee Tae-Hoon's teams rarely show anything resembling the kind of football that will get the Cambodian public on the edge of their seats. If there was ever a tide, it's definitely turned against the South Korean coach who has been responsible for a series of disappointing results in various competitions over the past 14 months. His suggestion that the World Cup was unimportant compared to the SEA Games may just be about to explode in his face, judging by the strength of the teams Cambodia will soon find themselves up against. For the players sake, I hope they do well and can hold their heads up, but frankly, I fear the worst. I simply don't believe the Korean has the tactical nous against the standard of opposition they will face, or the motivational skills to pump his team up for these high pressure matches. He has made his own bed and now has to lie in it, especially after refusing to include proven quality players like Khim Borey in his gameplan. The football federation in Cambodia must shoulder the blame for what's about to happen. They appointed an unproven and inexperienced coach because he came with the blessing, and financial backing, of the South Korean FA. Essentially, you get what you pay for and with Cambodia not footing the coach's salary, I'm sure you get the picture. It's too late to change anything now, we missed that particular boat long ago, and we'll just have to ride out the storm that's just about to break. So I suggest we batten down the hatches, because it's going to be a very rough ride in Jakarta.
Here are two photos from last night's 1-0 defeat friendly international to Nepal. Judging by the lethargic performance, it was one game too many following the BIDC Cup tournament and I hear that the coach was bemoaning a few injuries his team have picked up. Let's hope they clear up over the next few days before the team take on the hosts Indonesia on 7 November. Apologies for the picture quality, my camera doesn't like night-time.
The Cambodian team line-up for the press, and my piss-poor camera

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