Vathanaka given extra time to make grade in Japan

Chana Vathanaka has been given extra time to make the grade in Japan after struggling to make an impact at Fujieda MYFC.

Cambodian international Vathanaka may have finished as the top scorer in his homeland for each of the last two years, yet the 23-year-old is yet to make his debut for third tier outfit Fujieda after joining on a season-long loan.

Despite Cambodian outfit Boeung Ket Angkor granting the striker the chance to try his luck in Japan, Fujieda have raised question marks over his stamina and tactical discipline.

Boeung general manager Be Makara has flown to Japan to discuss Vathanaka’s situation, yet Fujieda insist they are still keen to keep him in their ranks.

President Jun Koyama told Makara: “Vathanaka is struggling here in Japan, but he’s trying hard. Just give him a little longer and show him your support.”

Vathanaka is working one-on-one with Fujieda’s fitness coach after manager Atsuto Oishi admitted that he still isn’t as quick as his Japanese team-mates.

However, Vathanaka retains his belief that he will make the grade overseas and will benefit from the experience.

“Cambodian fans want to see me play of course, so they want me to go home,” he told NHK World.

“But I want to stick it out and grow from my time in Japan. My goal is to become a regular starter for the team.

“I am the very first football player from Cambodia to move to Japan.

“I want to prove that South East Asian players can make it right at the top level.

“Japan regularly qualifies for the World Cup finals, but Cambodia is not at that level.

“I would like to learn from my time in Japan – not just soccer skills, but personal skills.”