In this third and final part of developing young players in Cambodia I will try to give you a more in depth look tactically on what we can be excited about as Cambodian football goes through this exciting transition.
In the previous article, developing players (Part 2), I stressed the importance of coaches adapting their styles to embrace Khmer culture and for Cambodia not to change to be like someone else but rather create our own identity.
The big questions is…… What is Khmer style?
Enthusiasm to learn….
Khmer players want to learn. It’s a great start. The key is the way the content is delivered. Every coach will have their own style of delivery but as previously mentioned we have to adapt and understand their culture and motivation for playing. The willingness to learn and desire for knowledge means anything is possible.
Formations are dead..…
Football is once again going through another evolution and if we’re smart we can get ahead of the curve. When I was young I played as a defender. I would never cross the half way line in a game unless it was for a set piece. When I became a coach we used to use the phrase “defend as 11, attack as 11”. Khmers are just understanding this concept now. Both Next Step and Soltilo under my leadership have had some heavy defeats. On paper or looks bad. It is bad! However what I’ve always tried to explain to players and fans is that development is a process and sticking to ideas and principles is hard. It’s not my nature to organize a team to defend and win 1-0. I want to attack and play football that excites people. Football evolution now is that tactical systems are a thing of the past, instead what we’re doing is trying to move the ball, open space and attack that space. Without the ball, don’t leave any spaces open and be solid for 90 seconds and the ball will come back.
Play With Freedom… .
I have always tried to coach players to play with their first instinct and with freedom. My best example is Roth Somnang who was at Soltilo with me and graduated our academy. The boy is a talent. The issue is he didn’t fit a system. He was a luxury player who would be hated because he gave the ball away. I used to tell people to stop having a go at him. Just back him up because he is a genius. If we expect him to lose the ball every time then when he does we’re there. This will give him confidence to keep trying and you can bet he will start producing that genius more often.
Khmer Style of football…
Be positive. Be happy. Let them play with freedom. Vathanaka is an idol because he gets fans off their feet. Pisoth at PPC is frightening because he plays with no fear or restrictions. This is Khmer style.
Fearless. Fast Paced. Exciting.
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