While there are a lot of exciting events at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games to be held in Cambodia, one of the most competitive and attractive is the football, and according to the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), the sports governing body, the aim is Gold.
In a statement made by the FFC at the 17th FFC general assembly in Phnom Penh on March 11, President Sao Sokha told attendees that Cambodia had been preparing for the event for more than 10 years, which has included hosting tournaments, such as the AFF Under 23 Championship last year, as well as building an infrastructure for “success”.
To read about the AFF Under 23 Championship in Cambodia click here
He further urged the team to “train hard” and to “constantly strive to be able to compete with those from other regional countries”, as well as his hopes for the team gaining a medal.
It was also announced that two major events would happen before the games, namely the International Bokator Referee Training Course from March 24 to 28 and the non-football related Cambodia Kun Bokator National Championship which runs from March 29 to April 3. Kun Bokator being tan ancient and native Khmer martial art where Cambodia hope to get as many as 10 medals.
You can read about the sport here
What is the format for football at the 2023 SEA Games?
Prior to the 2017 the age limit for the games was Under 23, with 3 average players allowed to take part, since then the tournament has been open to Under 22 players, without overage players. It should be noted though that “big countries”, such as Thailand are known to send younger players.
While the groups have not been drawn yet, the tournament is likely to be done with either two groups, or three, with 4 teams traditionally qualifying for the semi-finals.
With Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand being the big hitters, this means that Cambodia are in for a fighting chance of a medal, although this was also the case in the disastrous 2022 AFF Under Cup.
Can Cambodia get a medal?
Being the patriots that we are we will always cheer on The Koupreys, particularly when they play The Azcals, but we also feel we need to be realistic. Coach Honda previously said that he “believed the hosts are capable of challenging any team in the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh”
He then subsequently managed to get Cambodia knocked out of a three team group at the AFF Under 23 Championship, undone by the magic of Mouzinho and a technically inferior Timor-Leste team.
To read our interview with Mouzinho click here.
And while there might have been some cosmetic changes made to the top brass, we will have to wait and see if it is simply a case of “same same, but different”.
The Cambodian team finished 4th out of 5 at the 2021 SEA Games held in 2022 in Vietnam. Their final tally was one win, one draw and two defeats in their four games.
This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.
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