| PHNOM PENH (August 18, 2007) – Hosts Cambodia will be relying on pure home determination to overcome Thailand in their first game in Group A of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-17 Championship which kicks-off at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh tomorrow.
Cambodian head coach Prak Sovannara said that the team have to be realistic when they face Thailand in their opening match as he feels that the Thais should rank easily as one of the favourites to progress from the group into the last four.
“We are in a very strong group,” said Sovannara at the pre-match press conference here in Phnom Penh.
“But football is unpredictable. It does not mean that you are strong, you can win or that if you are weak, you will lose.
“We’ve had two months of training and we would want to prove in front of our home fans that we can play good football.”
Indonesian head coach Urias Ar is cautious in his assessment of his adversaries in the group – preferring instead to be a little more diplomatic.
“I believe that football development at the moment is moving forward at a very quick rate, so it is difficult to gauge your opponent’s strength or weaknesses,” added Urias, whose team will take on Brunei in the first match of the afternoon in Group A.
“We have a talented squad but we need to work more on the understanding if we want to win the championship.”
In the meantime, Myanmar head coach U Khin Maung Tint is taking the pragmatic road to their challenge in Group B considering that the team have had only a month and a half of training.
”The problem is that most of our players are very young and the fact that they have not had much of competitive experience meant that it will be a weakness to our team,” said U Khin.
“In the group, I believe that Singapore and Vietnam will be the teams to look out for.”
Singapore on the hand will be hoping that the six friendly matches they have played will make the difference in the final count – even though their group will be a team short with the absence of Timor Leste.
“We had some positive results in the friendly matches we’ve played,” said Singapore head coach Abdullah Mohamed Noor.
“We will be concentrating on our ball possession although if we can sharpen our skills in front of the goal, it will make things so much better.”