The national volleyball team is in Malaysia for the Tri-Nation Volleyball Cup 2023, which is happening from March 29 to April 1.

The Kingdom was invited to participate by the host nation, along with the Singaporean team. The hosts will field an A and B team, while the two guest nations will field one squad each.

The Cambodian team took on Malaysia A at 9:30pm on day one of the tournament, before facing Singapore and Malaysia B at 7:30pm on the two subsequent days. The score of the March 29 match was unavailable at time of publication.

Each of the matches will be broadcast live on the Volleyball Federation of Cambodia’s (VFC) social media channels.

As the team departed from Phnom Penh International Airport on March 28, VFC secretary-general Aing Serey Piseth said the contest would be a perfect hit out for the team ahead of the upcoming 32nd SEA Games.

“All three of the nations that are taking part – including us – are working hard to improve their competitiveness ahead of the May games. Following the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam, nearly all of the ASEAN nations hired new coaching staff and signed as many emerging players as possible. Whoever earns gold this year will have to work for it,” he said.

“We want to stand on the top of the podium, but we have to remember that they do too. Every single member of Team Cambodia – from the coaches and masseuses to the players – is working as hard as they can on ensuring we have the best possible chance to claim gold on our home soil,” he said.

At the 31st SEA Games – originally scheduled to take place in 2021 in Indonesia but postponed to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic – the Cambodian team claimed a hard-fought bronze – their first-ever medal at the biennial multi-sport event. Based on the historic accomplishment, the VFC president, National Police chief General Neth Savoeun, and VFC vice-president Sar Sokha announced their intention to shoot for the top of the dais.

With this goal in mind, the federation scheduled three recent friendly matches against international competition, triumphing in two of them.

Last October, the Kingdom’s athletes defeated a visiting Cuban U21 side 3-1. A two-match February series against the French U19 squad saw Cambodia lose the first match 3-0 but recover to earn a draw in the series with a 3-1 victory.

Despite the international wins, Piseth warned that neither of their tri-nations rivals should be taken lightly.

“Singapore opted not to join the Vietnamese games, but we know that they have been training hard for the past two years, while Malaysia were crowned champions of a four-nation competition last February,” he cautioned.