***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 4 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Cambodia, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
Honestly, just thrilled to be out there
Nickname: Angkor Warriors
FIFA Ranking: 171 (June 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from second round (AFC) group stage, finishing bottom of group, behind Iran, Bahrain, Iraq and Hong Kong
The story of the Cambodia national soccer team makes for grim reading. But the reading is not nearly as grim as the historical events off the pitch. It’s for that reason that the Angkor Warriors are seriously just happy to be out there.
Still recovering from a period where performing any non-farming duties, belonging to an elite group or acting independently were punishable by death, the Indonesia national team is just over the moon that the greatest penalty they face these days is the concession of a penalty kick, a yellow or, at worst, a red card.
Having achieved little on the international stage other than a fourth place finish at the 1972 Asian Cup and a defeat of the then-158th ranked Afghanistan, who gives a stuff, because Cambodia suffering losses on a football field sure beats the shit out of Cambodia suffering gut-wrenching, incomprehensible torture, sexual assault, indiscriminate murder and mass burial in the killing fields. And while being destroyed by opposition strikers is far from a rarity for the Angkor Warriors, it’s a destruction they’ll take gladly. There’s a reason Cambodia puts out eleven players on the pitch (plus 7 subs, as well as coaching, medical and admin staff) and has thousands in the stands supporting them, because to keep each of them is now actually a profit, and to destroy any of them is conversely a loss.
One to watch: Which way the Tonle Sap river’s flowing today
Part of south east Asia’s mighty Mekong river system, the Tonle Sap river is the only one in the world that actually reverses it direction of flow. So head on down and see which way it’s flowing today! Is it southward, towards the sea?! Or northward, away from the sea?! Who knows what this wacky watercourse is doing today!!!*
*Everyone knows. Because if it’s monsoon season, between May and October, the river swells so much it’s forced to flow north, but otherwise it goes south. And for that spoiler, you are welcome.
The Highpoint: Now’s pretty good, all things considered
About a quarter of Cambodia’s population was killed during the Khmer Rouge’s four-year horrifying reign, in what has been described as genocide in its purest, most evil form. Doctors, lawyers, university students, people with glasses, people without glasses, children, anyone who spoke a foreign language, anyone had studied at university or basically anyone who had even seen a book or had a heartbeat were slaughtered by the regime. So it’s tempting to say that the fourth place at the 1972 Asian Cup or beating Afghanistan in AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifying are the pinnacles in the history of the Cambodia national team, but frankly, even just having a team is a massive success.
The mere notions that Pol Pot’s sickening stranglehold on its population didn’t result in the people’s complete extermination, today the country even has enough of a population to still field a team, and the fact that a foreigner is now the head coach (Japan’s Keisuke Honda), well that’s a win. A massive one.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
Probably. And is isn’t that just fucking great? No matter who it’s against or by how many dozens of goals they lose.