Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The penny has dropped

What do you mean, my contract has not been renewed?
I have been nagging away about the Cambodian national football coach for well over a year now. His name is Lee Tae-Hoon. He was the wrong man for the job, having been sent as a free gift from the South Korean football federation in August 2010 and welcomed with open arms by the Cambodian football federation, simply because his salary was paid for by another country. His previous coaching experience wouldn't have got him a job with a domestic club let alone a country's national team anywhere on the planet. Except Cambodia. His reign went from bad to worse as Cambodia repeatedly fell at the first hurdle in every major competition they entered and it was clear he was the wrong man in the wrong job. So what happens - a year ago the Cambodian federation gave him a year long contract extension. That sounds about par for the course. True to form, the coach continued to beaver away in his own little world and results continued on their downward spiral. He even had the temerity to say he wasn't interested in FIFA World Cup qualification as he was concentrating on the SEA Games at U-23 level. A comment guaranteed to get my goat and that of every football-loving fan in Cambodia. A win at home against Laos in the World Cup qualifier seemed to buck the trend until he took his team to Vientiane and they got hammered in the second leg. By this time I had lost patience and was calling for his head at every opportunity. It was for his own good really, as he was clearly a fish out of water. Cambodia's international reputation and ranking was dropping like a stone and the coach had failed to give his team any shape, structure, style or vision. At last the penny has dropped and the Cambodian federation have now informed the local press that the Korean's contract will not be renewed when it ends in July. Not sure what he will be doing until then, but the football authorities have also said they want to replace him with a Cambodian coach. Unfortunately, the dearth of experienced, talented coaches in Cambodia doesn't bode well for that decision either.

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