Managing Expectations – Where Do Cambodia Rank at World Football?

Cambodian Football

While we would all love Cambodia to thump Brazil in a World Cup final, we also need to know our limits, so where exactly does Cambodia rank in world football and could we cause a shock?

To read about Cambodia losing to Myanmar click here.

Cambodia were both angered and dismayed at not qualifying at the recent SEA Games, but the sad fact remains that as things stand we have not won two matches in a row for literally years, nor qualified for the knock-outs of anything since the 1970’s.

Are we being over ambitious, or should we expect more?

The Golden Era of Cambodian Football

This was to come during the brief period of the Khmer Republic when in 1972 Cambodia managed to get 4th place in the AFC Cup, its only appearance thus far.

Yet whilst this sounds impressive it really meant qualifying second from a 3 team group and beating Indonesia 2-0. The Khmer Republic lost 2-0 in the final to Thailand, but it was enough to qualify.

They thens snuck into the semi-finals after losing 4-1 to South Korea, but then beating Kuwait 4-0, with the later having beaten the Koreans 2-1.

They then lost 2-1 to eventual winners Iran, before losing on penalties in the third placed match to arch rivals Thailand. This was sadly the last time Cambodia qualified for literally anything as the shadow of the Khmer Rouge slowly overcame the country.

What is Cambodia’s Current FIFA World Ranking?

Cambodia are currently ranked 176 in the world, which very much means the bottom quarter of the worlds nations. For some context we have the highs of 153rd and the lows of 193.

At 176 this puts us above Laos 188 and Timor-Leste 196 within ASEAN, although it should be noted that we did also lose to the later. Above us is Myanmar at 160, making that probably our best benchmark for realistic improvement. Although at only one place above us Nepal would theoretically make the perfect friendly match……

To read about contemporary Nepal click here

Where does the Cambodian Premier League rank in Asia?

From a club football point of view Cambodia rank as the 33rd best ranked league in Asia, out of 47 competitions. For context this makes us better just about than Nepal, but not as good as tiny Macau, or regionally as Myanmar, who rank at 28th place.

This is something the Football Federation of Cambodia have actively tried to change through the formation of the Cambodian Premier League (CPL), although it has yet to bear fruit.

To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here.

From a regional point of view this means we get a qualifying place in the AFC Cup, but no entry into the Champions League.

So, that is where we fit into the global and regional football pecking order. Yes, things could be better, but they could also be worse.

Hopefully with a new coach, we might get to see some actual real improvements.

You can read about Coach Felix here.

This article is adapted from BPVE, ( reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (
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