Felix Dalmas feels honored to lead Cambodia into the first round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers as the KoupreyBlues face Pakistan in a two-legged competition in the most prestigious football tournament.
Cambodia were through to the second round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers under the South Korean coach, Lee Taehoon, after they downed Macau 4-1 on aggregate, winning 3-0 at home thanks to Chan Vathanaka’s brace and Khuon Laboravy’s late strike before Thierry Bin’s stunning free-kick secured a 1-1 draw for Cambodia in the second leg.
Most Cambodia National Team supporters expect Felix Dalmas to help the KoupreyBlues reach the second round, but the Argentinian pointed out that the situation is different as he learned that Pakistan are a strong team that makes it hard to edge past.
Speaking in the Football Talk live via the official Facebook page of the Football Federation of Cambodia, Felix Dalmas said: “We could expect that, and honestly last time Cambodia made it to the second round. Now everything and the situation is different. Pakistan is a very strong team, and I expect the players will play 100 per cent for the team and give what they have.
“I feel completely honored, and I have felt this since the first time I coached the team. I feel honored for the chance that I can select the players. I am happy and love the players I have been working with. I feel honored every day.
“For the pressure, it seems a negative word, but it’s not – it just means to push the players to try to do their best. They have to do their best. I have high expectation for myself and for the players every day. This is a good chance, and we want to win every game.”
The 31-year-old has also highlighted the reasons for the lateness of the training camp as the national team squad is set to be announced on Sunday night after the Match-day 10 of the Metfone Cambodian League, meaning that Cambodia will have only three days to prepare the first leg that will be played at the National Olympic Stadium on June 6.
Felix Dalmas explained: “The official FIFA break is on 3rd. We are trying to make a good relationship [with the clubs], and we don’t want to take good players from the clubs that are fighting [for the league title]. They have to play at the weekend, so simply we cannot take the players.
“We are in touch with the players, and they know what we expect. We have a short preparation as some players will play on Saturday, and the other on Sunday. Mostly, the players know how we want to play. We will do our best with what we have, and just like what I said.”
Photo courtesy of Football Federation of Cambodia