Revised Football Team Drubbed 5-0 by Malaysia

Cambodia’s refashioned national foot­ball squad was trounced 5-0 by Ma­laysia on Monday evening in their much-anticipated first match at the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.

The defeat comes just weeks after the National Olympic Committee controversially dropped the Cambo­dian national football team and sent 16 players from NOC President Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s own team, Khemara, and only four hand-picked players from the national team.

NOC officials said last week that the national squad was dropped in fa­vor of Khemara due to the national squad’s poor performance.

In the game played in Bacolod in the Philippines, Malaysia scored its first goal after just eight minutes and made it 2-0 and 3-0 later in the same half.

Five minutes into the second half, Malaysia had striker Rudie Bin Ra­mil sent off for verbal abuse, which did not keep the 10 remaining players from scoring twice more, the Phil­ippine Daily Inquirer reported.

According to the Inquirer, Bur­mese referee U Win Cho restored or­der after Cambodian and Malay­sian players almost came too blows after a particularly nasty tackle by Cambodian defender Om Thavrak on Malaysia’s Fadzil Bin Shaari in the 21st minute.

President of the Cambodian Foot­ball Federation Khek Ravy said he was not surprised to see the team lose.

“I think the team is very new and I don’t think they had a chance to get organized. You cannot expect a high performance from a new team,” he said.

Khek Ravy said the team needed a professional coach such as Aus­tralian coach Scott O’Donell, who had been coaching the original na­tional team since August in preparation for the SEA Games.

“We should sit down and look at the real problems,” Khek Ravy said of the nation’s poor performance in football.

“We have to give [players] many op­­portunities to play games and to give them better allowances,” he said.

Scott O’Donell declined to comment on Cambodian league winner’s Khemara’s crushing by Ma­lay­sia, though he did reveal that the or­i­ginal national team was no longer in training.

NOC Secretary-General Meas Sar­in said he did not want to comment on his committee’s last-minute de­cision to change the national team.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s ad­viser in the NOC, Prince Noro­dom Chakrapong, could not be contacted.

Bouy Dary, one of the national team players not sent to the SEA Games, said the original national team would have performed better.

“As a Cambodian I am not really hap­py with the result,” he said, add­ing that the worst was probably yet to come.

“I think that when they play in the next matches against the Thai and Filipino teams, the result will be worse than this, maybe seven- or six-nil,” he said.





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