Phea Sopheaktra, assistant coach of the Cambodian national football team, has his fingers crossed that young striker Lim Pisoth will soon return from injury, ahead of the young Kouprey beginning their campaign at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Vietnam next month.
The Phnom Penh Crown 20-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Cambodian Under-23 training camp due to an injury sustained to his left knee shortly before the final 28-man squad was announced and began training together for the 2022 ASEAN AFF U23 Championship, held last February in Phnom Penh.
After careful examination and assessment, Pisoth underwent surgery and it was announced that he would be absent within two to three months. However, after two months of treatment, the youngster seems to be showing signs of a speedy recovery, as he returned to light training with the club last week.
Regarding the situation, Sopheaktra told The Post on April 21: “We are waiting to see how he looks, because he is a key player in the attacking area. That he’s returned to training with his club is good news for us, but we will wait to see how he plays – if he makes a return appearance in the Cambodian league.”
The coach also acknowledged that the absence of standout players would make it difficult for the team to find an immediate solution to Pisoth’s absence, and said if the young striker shows good form and is fit during games for Phnom Penh Crown, there would be no reason for him not to play in the SEA Games.
Sopheaktra added: “If Pisoth has a good run and strong skill levels when he plays in the league, of course he will have a chance to play at the SEA Games. I would expect him to be named in Cambodia’s most crucial matches.”
According to the reporting of the website Cambodia2023, on April 19 Pisoth himself confirmed that he is 90 per cent strong.
The 20-year-old told the same website: “I have returned to training, and so far I am about 90 per cent recovered. I may be able to play this week, but it is up to the coach to make the decision as to whether I play or not.”
After taking a break to celebrate the traditional Khmer New Year, Phnom Penh Crown will resume their campaign this weekend as they open the doors at Smart RSN Stadium to big rival Boeung Ket on Saturday from 6:30pm.
Initially, Pisoth did not expect to be able to participate in the SEA Games, scheduled to start early next month, but given the current situation he seems to have some hope of having a chance to play at the games – for the first time in his career.
When asked if the injury could heal in time for him to play for the Kingdom, the player – who has made nine appearances for the national team – responded: “Yes. I think maybe it will because I have returned to training.”
The national U23 team will begin training together on April 26, after the Football Federation of Cambodia released 20 players who will participate in the games, including Pisoth.