After beating Macau last month in the first round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Cambodia was on Tuesday placed in a pool with Japan, Syria, Afghanistan and Singapore as one of 40 teams vying for 12 spots in the final tournament for the Asian region.
Coming into the competition as the 179th best team in the world, Cambodia is the lowest-ranked side in Group E. Ranked 50 in the world, Japan tops the group, followed by Syria at 126, Afghanistan at 135 and Singapore at 162.
Ung Kan Yanith, an assistant coach for the Cambodian national team, said he expected Japan and Syria to emerge from the group over the coming months, but that his side would be better for the experience.
“There are five teams in the group, so this is a good time for competition and a good experience for the next step” in Cambodia’s development, he said.
“For Singapore and Afghanistan, we can challenge [them],” he said.
As for Japan and Syria, he added, “both of them will qualify I think.”