Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking forward

The Cambodia football team charged with Suzuki Cup success next month
With the end of the Cambodia Premier League season at the weekend, all football eyes will now turn to the national team's participation in the biennial AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 Championships that will be played in Indonesia and Thailand early next month. Football is a massive participation sport in Cambodia, though most of it takes place on the streets, on waste-ground or more visibly, on the car park at the Olympic Stadium, with very little in the way of organized leagues and even less suitable venues to perform the noble sport. It's very much a grassroots game here in Cambodia but it's one of the few sports in which its citizens can get excited about and their last-gasp 2-1 win over Brunei in the qualifying matches a few weeks ago, put them through to their first championship finals for years. The jubilant celebrations at the end of the Brunei game were ample evidence of the passion that football can generate though with a very poor international record, Cambodia know their limitations. Very much the underdogs, alongwith fellow qualifiers Laos, the Cambodian team under coach Prak Sovannara, will begin their tournament in Jakata against much-fancied defending champions Singapore on Friday, 5th December, in a Group A game that will be televised here in Southeast Asia. They will then meet co-hosts Indonesia (7th) and Myanmar (9th), whilst the Group B games will pitch Laos against Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand in Bangkok. Coach Sovannara will be looking to the striking duo of Sam El Nasa and Khim Borey to get the goals to give their team any hope of success but it's at the back where the coach knows his team is most vulnerable and where they will have to work extra hard to nullify their opponents. It will be a tough ask, that's for sure.
Keep up to speed with the Championships at the Suzuki Cup's official website.


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