The Cambodian national football team on Thursday introduced Luis Fernando Vitorino as its new coach, and the president of the Football Federation of Cambodia predicted that the flair and talent of Brazil would rub off on the players.
Mr. Vitorino, who left his job as coach of Laotian outfit Lanexang United to take the position, replaces South Korean Lee Tae-hoon, who became national team manager in 2010 and was sacked in 2012, only to be reinstated the following year.
Speaking at the introduction of the new manager on Thursday at Phnom Penh Hotel, federation president Sao Sokha, who also serves as National Military Police commander, said the coach would import a winning mentality from his homeland.
“It’s about psychology. Whenever people hear about Brazil, they know these are the best football players,” General Sokha said.
“If we chose a poor one, without a reputation, to coach in Cambodia…Cambodian [players] will not improve because Cambodians would not believe,” he said.
The new coach and two assistants would be paid $12,000 a month in total, he said.
Mr. Vitorino then took the mic and wasted no time in pledging allegiance to his new country.
“Now, I am not Brazilian. I am Cambodian. I live in Cambodia. I live 24 hours
in Cambodia. I give my heart for Cambodia. I give my best for Cambodia,” he said.
He then made it clear that players would not be making the team roster based on their reputations alone.
“Don’t think you can just sit in the chair in the national team and you will be on the list. Now the players of national team need to show up every week,” he said. “There are no superstars.”
He then called upon the media to stop shining the limelight solely on star striker Chan Vathanaka, who recently joined Japanese club Fujieda MYFC on loan.
“I would like to tell all the media: Please, please give attention also for our players here because all the time you always write about Vathanaka,” he said.
The outgoing coach, Mr. Tae-hoon, who had varied success during his tenure and was renowned for public outbursts about his players, will now coach the national under-15s, said May Tola, a federation spokesman.