Men’s Football Squad Extends Vietnam Tour

Cambodia’s national football team is extending a tour of Vietnam to train ahead of a qualifying tournament to be held in Phnom Penh next week, the Football Federation of Cambodia said Monday.

The 26-man squad was to have returned to Cambodia on Monday, but will now likely remain in Viet­nam until May 20 after winning three of four exhibitions in a tour of that country, FFC President Sao Sokha said.

Next week, Cambodia will host Group D qualifying matches against Palestine, Macau and Nepal as part of the second-ever Chall­enge Cup, an Asian Football Con­fed­eration tournament for “emerging” football nations.

The FFC said Monday the successful tour was being extended to help prepare for the qualifiers.

Sao Sokha said the national team is now training at private grounds on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.

FFC Secretary-General Ouk Sethycheat added that the time in Vietnam will help remove unnecessary distractions.

“Here, the players can ask to go here and there or to go home,” he said, adding that the players were adapting to a new environment and food.

Cambodia will play Palestine on May 24 and Nepal on May 26 before facing Macau on May 28, with the winner advancing to compete in the eight-team Challenge Cup finals in Hyderabad, India, in July and August.

At the initial 2006 tourney, Pal­estine defeated Cambodia 4-0.

Sao Sokha said Cambodia was hoping to benefit from the home-field advantage.

“I don’t know much about Pal­estine, Nepal or Macau, but we are the host country, and we’ve got the fans,” he said. “I believe a lot of fans will come out to support us. We’ll have strong encouragement.”

Also, in the second week of the Cam­bodian Premiere League’s 2008 season, Takeo province’s Kir­ivong Sok Sen Chey was defeated by Moha Garuda 1-2, while Khe­mera Keila FC beat Phuchung Neak FC 2-1.

On Sunday, Build Bright United took three points from Red Eagle Posts with a 2-0 defeat.

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