Cambodia will host qualifying matches for the Asean Football Championship 2008, competing in October with squads from Laos, the Philippines, East Timor and Brunei at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium, the football federation said Monday.
The competition follows last year’s hosting of the Asean Football Federation Youth Championship, which saw Cambodia make a strong showing in the tournament, which was widely viewed as a success by local organizers.
Football Federation of Cambodia Deputy Secretary-General May Tola said Monday that under new national team manager Yoo Kee-heung, Cambodia’s senior men’s team would fare better than it has in recent months.
Cambodia managed only a draw in five matches at August’s ONGC Nehru Cup in India and was knocked out of World Cup contention by Turkmenistan in October. In their first match under Yoo last month, they also fell 3-2 to the Korean side Suwon City.
“We hope there will be changes,” May Tola said. “They can be better than before,” he said.
Two qualifying nations will advance from October’s qualifying matches to compete with Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam at the AFF Championship in December, jointly hosted by Thailand and Indonesia.
Play in the second annual Samdech Akkar Maha Senapedei Dekchor Hun Sen Cup opened Saturday as Lion Squad defeated Phnom Pros/Kompong Cham FC 3-2 to advance while Premier League champions NagaCorp walloped Pursat 17-2, according to May Tola.
“This is the second year and we will do it every year,” national military police commander and FFC President Sao Sokha said of the cup.
Phnom Penh City Hall has provided the $50,000 budget for the two-month tournament, while Deputy National Police Chief Teng Chhuon donated $33,000 to be used as prize money, he said.
At the April 5 final, the winning team will be awarded $15,000, the runners-up $10,000, and $5,000 will go to the third-place finishers, Sao Sokha said, adding that a $1,250 fair play award would also be given.