In the wake of defeat to Myanmar, and an all but certain exit from the SEA Games, Cambodian football fans had barely come to grips with what was happening when BPVE broke the news that Honda owned Soltilo Angkor would be dissolved.
With no communication from the club and everyone left guessing BPVE caught up with U21 Khmer International & former Soltilo captain Eam Ratana, better known as Toi, to find out what he thought of the SEA Games performance, the final days of Soltilo and what’s next for him.
Who Is Eam Ratana?
The young midfielder, who graduated Next Step FC academy, joined Soltilo in 2019 and was made captain of the club at the age of 18 by former coach Charlie Pomroy. He played for the national team in the recent AFF U20 competition, and over 4c seasons has scored 8 goals for Soltilo.
National Team Performance Wasn’t Good Enough..
Toi has been called to for the national team on several occasions and was on tour with the U20 late 2022. Many believed he would be part of the SEA Games squad. When asked how close he was to bring called up;
“I am on the last 50 players list but couldn’t make the final 20”
The national team failed to advance from the group stages and by seen by most as a failure. Toi agreed;
“Of course I’m upset we couldn’t make the final. Everyone expected us to go through. We cannot think too much about it, we must move forward”
Soltilo Ending Was A Shock To Everyone…
Soltilo entry into the League Cup without naming any foreigners in the team was a signal of where the club was heading for this season. The performances were excellent, noting in particular the away win against ISI. Soltilo even managed to finish above Tiger much to the delight of the ultras.
When the news broke that Soltilo were finished no one was more shocked than the players;
“It was a complete shock to everyone. No one knew it was coming or what was happening. I felt horrible that I cannot do anything to help the club stay in business”
It’s left 30 players without clubs and everyone searching for the next move. Toi will be one of the first players being snapped up but where he will go next is a closely guarded secret.
A Return To Next Step Not On The Cards…
Toi former coach Charlie Pomroy ruled out a move for Toi;
“The boy is too good for CL2. It would be a waste of time for him and a missed opportunity for any of the ten clubs in CPL. Of course he is always welcome home but right now the possibilities for this boy are endless”
Tiger would be the obvious choice and BPVE understands that contact has been made, however Toi isn’t in a rush to commit and it’s possibly looking to greener pastures in Phnom Penh;
“Yes I would like to move away from Siem Reap if possible. I think being in Phnom Penh will give me more chance to be seen by national team coach”
When asked about Tiger Toi replied;
“Tiger made an offer but I want to wait until after the league cup has finished so we can set what is happening with CPL and CL2. I’m in no rush to make a decision. Next season I want to focus on getting minutes on the field so that I can play SEA Games next year”
One to keep an eye on.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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