PHNOM PENH (19 Feb 2012) – Cambodia have picked Vietnam ahead of Australia and Malaysia as the main obstacle for them to qualify for the main draw of the AFC Futsal Championship which will be held in the United Arab Emirates on 12-22 May 2012.
The Cambodians will be playing in the ASEAN zone qualifying round of the AFC Futsal Championship 2012 this week where they have been placed in Group B against Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Group A are hosts Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar.
“Vietnam are the most feared opponents in the group while Australia and Malaysia will also pose a significant challenge,” said Cambodia Futsal chief coach Hok Sothitya, a former Cambodian football international and skipper of the futsal team.
“Futsal is not like football. In futsal, players have to be careful every second. They can be strikers and also defenders.”
Among the notable names in the squad which has been in training since last October are goalkeeper Kongvong Sovichea, Dieb Sokmeng, Vann Sokrethya, Soun Thorn and Tep Vannaro who had all played at the last qualifying tournament while Chum Sophorn, Tep Sovanpiseth, Sok Seyha, Eung Slauth, Prom Yaneth and Phang Sunly will all be making their debut.
“Sure we will see a difference before and during the match, but we also try to push them to maintain good commitment and confidence every time,” added Sothitya.
Cambodia are making their fourth appearance at the qualifiers having failed to advance in 2004, 2006 and 2010. Thailand are the top ranked ASEAN nation.
The two top teams in each group at the end of the preliminary stage will progress into the semi-finals and then on to the final. Only the top three teams from the ASEAN zone will qualify for the AFC Futsal Championships 2012.
AFC FUTSAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2012 – Qualifying Round ASEAN Zone
Group A: Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand
Group B: Australia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam