The Lao men's under-23 football team will play a friendly match with Thai Port FC, champions of the Thai Football Association 2009, at the Chao Anouvong Stadium in Vientiane on Saturday.
The match will be another test of the players' skills as they prepare for the SEA Games. Entry to the game will be free of charge and the match will kick off at 5pm.
Lao Team Manager Viphet Sihachackr said this was an important experience for the players before facing big matches at the SEA Games in December.
“I believe this Saturday's match will be great, just the same as the recent 4-Nations Football Tournament held at the National Stadium. I hope lots of people will turn up to cheer for us.”
Recent matches have been good for the Lao football team, but the players are not good enough for SEA Games matches because they still need to improve in many areas of their tactics, Mr Viphet said. In the 4-nations tournament Laos drew 2-2 with Vietnam , defeated Thailand 3-0 and drew 1-1 with Malaysia , to be crowned champions.
“This match will be tougher than previous matches against Thai teams because they recently won the Thai FA Championship 2009. When we heard this we decided to invite them here for a friendly,” Mr Viphet said.
After Saturday's match, the Lao team will participate in the Cambodian International Football Tournament BIDC Cup 2009 from November 4-18 in Phnom Penh .
“This tournament will be more important than the match with Thailand this weekend because Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Vissai Ninh Binh are top teams in the Vietnamese league. Our players will have to raise the level of their game to face up to professional footballers like that,” he said.
Mr Viphet said the forthcoming matches were a strategy to improve the team by pitting them against stronger teams so they could learn from the experience ahead of the SEA Games.
In Cambodia , the tournament schedules Vissai Ninh Binh vs Laos and Hoang Anh Gia Lai vs Cambodia on November 8, Vissai Ninh Binh vs Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Cambodia vs Laos on November 10, Laos vs Hoang Anh Gia and Cambodia vs Vissai Ninh Binh on November 12. The finals will take place on November 14.
The Cambodian website http://roubroum.blogspot.com/ reported that the tournament will be broadcast live on Cambodian TV5 starting at 3.30 pm.
The tournament champion will win US$20,000, the runner-up US$10,000, third place will take US$5,000, the footballer voted best player will get US$1,000, and the top scorer and best goalkeeper will each get US$1,000.
By Souknilundon Southivongnorath