Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The Asia U-16 Champions Trophy finalists have been decided after the two-legged semi-finals. Rather surprisingly last years champions, Chonburi Academy from Thailand are out, beaten 6-1 over two legs by Harimau Muda U-16s, the national youth team of Malaysia, who did the unexpected and won 3-0 in the second leg in Thailand. In the other semi-final, Frenz Malaysia found PVF from Vietnam in great form, winning their home leg 3-0 in Ho Chi Minh and then grabbing a late goal to win 1-0 in Malaysia. The two legs of the Final will be played on 25 and 31 August with PVF getting home advantage in the first leg. The Phnom Penh Crown Academy finished a creditable 3rd in the Group B standings, well behind both Chonburi and Frenz Malaysia, in a six-team group.
Monday, August 18, 2014
|Cambodia went down 3-0 to Vietnam. Pic courtesy Lim Vandy|
Sunday, August 17, 2014
|Academy v Rachana, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Titchhy, Sovann, Sodavid, Chanpolin, Rozak. Front: Baraing, Senteang, Ponvuthy, Nuron, Phearath - click to enlarge|
Academy v Rachana: Chanvuthy, Sovann, Phearath (Sakrovy 79), Titchhy, Baraing (Chanchav 49), Chanpolin, Sodavid, Rozak (Sakrovy 29 (Muslim 49)), Ponvuthy (V Samnang 70), Nuron (Piseth 72), Senteang. MOTM: Chanpolin. Goals: Rozak (7), Sovann 2 (20, 34), Senteang 3 (31, 35, 49), Sodavid (33), Nuron (54), Chanpolin 2 (65, 83), Titchhy (82).
|The two teams together before kick-off|
Saturday, August 16, 2014
|Cambodia v Indonesia, back row, LtoR: Samoeun, Udom, Vathanaka, Tola, Vichet, Sovan. Front: Phallin, Daravorn, Suhana, Pidor, Sokumpheak [pic Lim Vandy]|
Cambodia v Indonesia: Vichet, Samouen, Pidor, Sovan, Daravorn, Sokumpheak, Suhana (Soksana 58), Phallin, Udom, Vathanaka (Ravy 69), Tola (Borey 58). Subs not used: Phearun, Chhoeun.
Friday, August 15, 2014
|Sam Schweingruber - by Masayori Ishikawa|
Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber is in China, but found time to offer up his thoughts about this new competition. "We are proud to be the first Cambodian team to be representing the country in the newly formed competition - the Mekong Cup. Obviously this is a huge opportunity for us to gain experience playing against champions of neighboring countries and we are looking forward to learning more about our opponents and other details, like the cup regulations. In preparation for the new season the Mekong Cup is coming a bit early. In preparation for the tournament, we will be for most of the time without at least 7 players that train with the National Team - so we will only be getting back together 10 days before departure, and will have to try to get everybody on the same page, especially new players like Koen. We hope to be playing some more international matches closer to the start of the new season and are preparing a tour, but details are not yet confirmed. Looking at the disappointing position Cambodia takes in the FIFA World Rankings (201st) we are aware that playing outside Cambodia pretty much always means we are the underdogs. But this will be the only way for us to try close the gap by playing against better teams."
More information on the new competition can be found on its website @ http://toyotamekongfootball.com/.
Meanwhile, Crown have decided not to renew the contract of speedy winger Neou Sosela after one season with the club. Sosela's appearances were limited during the team's Championship-winning campaign that has just ended and head coach Sam Schweingruber has decided that it's best for both parties if the former Army and National Police speedster seeks first-team opportunities elsewhere. Albirex looks like the former Cambodia U-23's next destination.
|Koen Bosma signs on the dotted line|
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
|A very wet Cambodian starting line-up v Malaysia|
Cambodia v Malaysia: Vichet, Da, Samoeun, Sovan, Daravorn, Srin, Sokumpheak, Phallin, Udom, Vathanaka, Soksana. Subs: Phearun, Pidor, Borey, Suhana, Ravy, Tola, Chhoeun.
|Cambodia skipper Kouch Sokumpheak exchanges pennants before the game begins|
|The U-13s line-up before their game with Thailand|
|The whole U-13 squad, coach Phally and friends|
Monday, August 11, 2014
|Thierry signs on the dotted line - click to enlarge|
|Cambodia v Singapore, back row, LtoR: Udom, Daravorn, Vathanaka, Srin, Sovan, Sokumpheak (capt). Front: Tola, Chhoeun, Da, Phearun, Samoeun - courtesy of Sabay|
Cambodia's U-21 team will be cock-a-hoop after their second successive win in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy this afternoon. They led by three clear goals at the break and eventually ran out 3-1 victors over a very young and inexperienced Singapore team. However, Cambodia won't mind that as this second victory will put them in a confident mood ahead of their three remaining fixtures. Coach Lee Tae-Hoon made three changes to his starting line-up after the 1-nil win over Brunei at the weekend. The Phnom Penh Crown trio of Sokumpheak, Srin and Da kept their places, with Sokumpheak again wearing the captain's armband. Those first-half goals came courtesy of Chan Vathanaka, Nob Tola and Prak Mony Udom, with Singapore scoring their consolation ten minutes after the restart. Vathanaka fired the first from a Prak Mony Udom pass inside the box on 22 minutes, Tola tapped in the second from a Sokumpheak lay-off on 37 minutes before Udom let fly from 25 yards into the top corner three minutes before the break. Singapore hit back with their own fierce drive on 55 minutes but there was no way back at the Berakas Sports Complex. So its onwards and upwards for the U-21s who now meet Malaysia on Wednesday. Cambodia v Singapore: Phearun, Da, Samoeun, Daravorn, Sovan, Srin, Sokumpheak, Udom, Chhoeun, Vathanaka, Tola. Subs: Vichet, Suhana, Ravy, Phallin, Borey, Pidor, Soksana.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
|Cam v Brunei, back row, LtoR: Udom, Srin, Sovan, Vichet, Soksana, Daravorn. Front: Samoeun, Da, Phallin, Vathanaka, Sokumpheak (capt) - click to enlarge|
Friday, August 8, 2014
|Ouk Sothy and his extended contract|
Thursday, August 7, 2014
|Sam Schweingruber answering questions|
Q. What was good and bad about your season?
A. If you only draw 3 games and lose 2 out of 22 games (so make 54 from a max of 66 - dropping 12 points) and you are 7 points clear of second place, you have obviously done a lot of things really well. Our team has a good understanding of how we want to play, good ideas, very good fitness and also excellent team work and unity. We focused quite a bit on set pieces and have achieved reasonable success. The coaching staff managed to give the players a goal that everybody worked really well to achieve. For weak points - I would call it areas that we want to improve. Not weak but more like not yet good enough. We are getting better at understanding how to play in difficult situations, need to be more relaxed under pressure, so that is a mental problem and comes with experience and we hope to develop this. We also need to be more composed in front of goal. I am not happy with the amount of chances we missed. Also, this year we conceded a total of 20 goals - that is too much and a few of the goals were really silly mistakes - we will work hard to cut these mistakes and be better organized.
1Q. What was the difference between the 1st and 2nd Rounds for your team?
A. A good team in not built overnight, it takes time to develop understanding of the plans and also understanding of the players with each other. Sure, the addition of Adriano Pellegrino helped our team to be more mature and controlled in stressful situations. But all in all I would say that our team needed more time to develop and get more comfortable with the ways we want to play. We only lost 1 game in the first half of season - and that had to do with an early red card in the game - something that can happen to any team.
A. As I am currently working for FIFA in China for a whole month, the contract negotiations have not been progressing. I have a verbal agreement from the Club to continue to work with me. Even though I have some other interesting offers, I am hoping to stay at the Club for a few more years to further develop this project to make the Club more professional and also gain international recognition.
Q. What are the plans for next season?
A. The plans are to further improve the way we play and start integrating Academy players into the first team for longer term success. We will do everything possible to achieve success in the domestic competitions and strengthen our squad if possible to also be challenging internationally. Yes, we will try hard to retain the CPL title, but we are also aware that there are many other teams investing and looking to develop a strong team to challenge us. This is good for Cambodian Football as competition will improve the quality and standard.
Q. What was good and bad about the season?
A. The playing facilities (both pitches) are terrible and the standard of refereeing will also need to be further improved for football to properly develop in Cambodia. The new teams that were added have impressed me, I am glad these teams (Albirex and TriAsia) are here and try to develop football the right way.
Q. What about activities for the Fans?
A. I am very happy to see more and more focus on generating interest for the fans. The fans are the blood of each club and we need more of them to get our clubs more professional and better. I hope the Cambodian people start to understand more of the meaning of loyalty to a club - so many people I see wear Boeung Ket and Crown jerseys within the same season - some people even change during the day - unbelievable. At Crown we are committed to prioritize the establishment of a proper fan club and we hope to have at the start of home games, a good crowd to support us.
Q. Will the new surface at Olympic Stadium improve our football?
A. Oh for sure, the current field is absolute disgraceful, never cut, not maintained, sometimes rocks on it and so on. To get an artificial pitch is not ideal but at least we then have a flat surface to play on. You can see how much better the Academy play when they go overseas and the same was true for our first team when we played in Vietnam, much better football for teams that look at applying a possession-based style of football. FIFA studies show how the level of football improves if you invest in new pitches - this is one of the reasons Crown has a very good training ground and is soon going to have home games on a great pitch. I'm glad the FFC has received the FIFA funding to renovate the Olympic Stadium.
7Q. How should the FFC improve?
A. The lack of communication is strange. We don’t even know what player is on how many yellow cards. There are no official websites or information online, so it is hard for fans or officials to get news. There are many decisions made by the Federation that should be in agreement with the clubs. Suspensions of players are handled without consulting players and there is no proper way to appeal and so on. In general, the Federation is challenged with a lot of work and limited manpower, so there are many shortfalls. Double standards are something that I can not believe the fans accept, complete injustice or clear wrong decisions I have a hard time to believe the fans and football community are not protesting louder. But I think it is all part of the slow process of developing football in Cambodia. The list of questions I have, concerns I could raise, and wrong doing that I could point to is very long and to address over the media is the wrong way - so I leave it at this. Cambodia needs a reserve league and I am currently designing a proposal to get funding to organize it with Crown and endorsed by the Federation. Hopefully this will be possible soon.
|Sam Schweingruber meets Liu Jiangnan at Guangzhou Evergrande Football School|
Sam Schweingruber is currently on a FIFA assignment in China, coaching children and their coaches, at the largest football academy in the world, the Guangzhou Evergrande Football School. Here he hands over a Crown jersey to the school president Liu Jiangnan, a former deputy chairman of the Chinese FA. The statistics for the school are dramatic. It cost $115million to build, the 300-acre project is breathtaking in scale: as well as more than 50 football pitches, it boasts an Olympic-size outdoor pool, a supermarket, a cinema, an open-air stadium and four tower blocks which house around 500 full-time staff. There are 2,400 full-time football-playing students, including 200 girls and 126 youth teams at the school, located 50 miles from Guangzhou. The scale is mind-boggling and all designed to make China a football superpower in the future.
|Adriano Pellegrino with Crown VP Tommy Lim|
"I'm very happy and honoured to have signed a new contract with Crown. It's been an amazing past 3 months having joined the club and being crowned champions, now to have signed a new contract, and be a part of the club long-term, I am very much looking forward to it. The club is going in a great direction with Crown competing next season in Asian competitions, new stadium being built, new signings at the club and a great youth program, and I want to be a part of all that in the future to come. I have to make a special mention to head coach Sam who has been sensational since I arrived at Crown. He is a great coach and look forward to working with him in the future to come, in competing and doing well in Asian competitions and also defending our CPL title next season." Adriano is celebrating his 1-year extension with a visit to Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples, one of the places he was looking forward to visiting when he knew he was coming to Cambodia. He also added that he hoped by his remaining in Cambodia, that it might open the door for other Australian players to play in the C-League. "It's an up and coming league and a great stage for more Australian players to play," commented the former A-League star.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
In the wake of the recent draw for the AFC President’s Cup 2014 that will take place in Sri Lanka this September - the last ever edition - here's the highlights of a competition highly regarded throughout Asia for offering a platform for clubs from emerging nations. The AFC President’s Cup was first competed for in 2005, a move designed to afford an opportunity for the league champions of AFC’s emerging nations to feature in a competitive continental competition. The relevant clubs embraced the concept, and, with Asia watching on, duly started participating on a continental stage. Despite the AFC’s decision to bring the curtain down on the nine-year existence of the AFC President’s Cup, clubs from emerging nations will bid farewell to the competition safe in the knowledge that there are more opportunities in the offing. From 2015 onwards, the AFC has decided that the league champions from emerging nations can play in the AFC Cup qualification stage, and, therefore, showcase their talent at an even higher level.
The AFC President’s Cup journey began in 2005 when Regar TadAZ from Tajikistan defeated Kyrgyzstan's Dordoi Dynamo (now FC Dynamo) 3-0 to lift the inaugural title in Kathmandu.
Dordoi won the next two competitions in Malaysia and Pakistan, while Regar again reigned supreme in 2008 and 2009. The following year, Yadanarbon of Myanmar became the first winners of the competition from outside Central Asia when they defeated Dordoi 1-0 in Myanmar. Chinese Taipei became the first East Asian representative to win the competition in 2011 when Taiwan Power Company lifted the trophy in front of home support (beating Phnom Penh Crown 3-2), while subsequent wins for Tajikistan’s Istiqlol and Turkmenistan's Balkan in 2012 and 2013 ensured that there is still to be a winner from West or South Asia. Palestine’s Al Am’ari and KRL Football Club of Pakistan, did however make it into the finals in the 2012 and 2013 editions respectively. There are three representatives from South Asia in the upcoming and last edition of the competition, while DPR Korea's Rimyongsu are making their debut. Erchim of Mongolia and FC HTTU are making their appearances in the finals for the first time.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
|The PPCFC U-12s before heading to South Korea today|
Later on this evening an U-12 team, made up of Phnom Penh Crown community boys and one Academy youngster, Mit Samel, are off to South Korea for a youth festival. Twelve youngsters will be playing thirty minute, 9-a-side games. It's taking place in Incheon, Korea's third largest city and is the second year running that we've sent a team to represent Cambodia. Obviously for boys of this age its a great experience especially as they are camping in tents with over 1,000 other boys. The team is being supervised by former Mighty Girl, Bi Phally. Squad: Hvarit, Sochea, Phanny, Rathana, Chanbut, Vanna, Brathna, Channy, Mesa, Darapich, Samel, Hangdavit.
Today also saw the draw for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014, with the Cambodia senior national team included in the Qualifying Round to be held in Laos before the competition finals. They will play the following qualifying matches with the best two teams progressing to the November finals in Vietnam and Singapore: 12 Oct vs Laos; 16 Oct vs Timor-Leste; 18 Oct vs Myanmar; 20 Oct vs Brunei. The final squad will be selected in September.
Monday, August 4, 2014
The Cambodia senior national team lined up against a Japanese Select XI for a practice match at Tonle Bati this afternoon, as Cambodia continued their preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers in October. After two periods of 30 minutes, a goal by Suong Virak separated the teams. In a third 30-minute period, a TriAsia team took over from the Japanese and the score for that period was 1-1 with Sok Chanrasmey scoring for the national team. Phnom Penh Crown's Thierry, Sothy, Boris and Sokumpheak all took part at some stage but Yaty and Pheng sat out with injuries and most of the U-21 team that arrived back from Laos yesterday, did not feature. The national team have a few days rest before regrouping again on Friday.
|Binh Duong celebrate their 3rd V-League championship success|
|Baldwin Ngwa, Jeongho Kim and Rafael Oliveira celebrate our Championship success with a selfie|
Putting pen to paper for the next two years to cap a great weekend, is Khim Borey, who got engaged on Saturday, before extending his contract today, to keep him at the club until the end of the 2016 season. Borey joined Crown at the end of 2010 before a season-long loan to Sisaket in the Thai Premier League. Last season he contributed 14 goals in league and cup matches and is widely recognised as one of the country's most talented players, so his contract extension is great news for the Crown fans. Head coach Sam Schweingruber said: "Borey's an important player on the field with his experience, good skill and some very important goals - a few were super important for our season - the late equalizer against Svay Rieng and the free kick goal vs Western. I have often played him out of his usual position - not striker but wing and he always serves the team with his best efforts. Off the field Borey is equally as important with leadership and guidance for our younger players. I am very happy he has chosen to be with us for another 2 years." Borey is one of the few (I dont know of anyone else) who has scored a hat-trick of goals for his country (when he netted 3 v Timor-Leste in 2010), yet the current Korean coach has overlooked him in recent times. His experience and versatility would get him into my squad any day.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
|Cambodia's U-21 v Laos, back row, LtoR: Samoeun, Tola, Vichet, Srin, Daravorn, Sovan. Front: Chhoeun, Borey, Ravy, Da, Suhana - pic by DeeSler, click to enlarge|
9 Aug vs Brunei; 11 Aug vs Singapore; 15 Aug vs Malaysia; 16 Aug vs Indonesia; 18 Aug vs Vietnam.
|The Vietnam U-19 team, one of the competition favourites|
Saturday, August 2, 2014
|PPCFC contingent in Laos: Da, Sokumpheak, Vanny (GK coach), Srin, Suhana|
The U-21 squad of 18 players is as follows: Vichet, *Chhoeun, *Soksana (Army), Vathanaka, Samoeun, *Sovan (Boeung Ket), Phearun, N Borey, Ravy (Nat Police), Da, Srin, *Sokumpheak, *Suhana (PPCrown), Daravorn, Udom, Phallin, Tola, Pidor (Svay Rieng). * = overage.
Final Score: Laos U-21 2 Cambodia U-21 2. Cambodia led through goals by Nob Tola and Ros Samoeun but had to settle for a draw as the home side came back to level in the last fifteen minutes.
Friday, August 1, 2014
|Sam in Beihai, China this week|
Thursday, July 31, 2014
|Va Sokthorn, wife and daughter in Crown colours|
|The Crown players, LtoR, are: Thierry, Yaty, Boris, Sokumpheak, Sothy, Da, Suhana, Srin, Pheng|
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
|Kouch Sokumpheak getting his MVP award from the club president Rithy Samnang|
Most Valuable Player = Kouch Sokumpheak
Best Goal = Bisan George vs TriAsia
Best Save = Yok Ary vs Western
Best Assist = Adriano Pellegrino vs Police
Best Free-kick = Khim Borey vs Western
Best Sportsman = Tony Obadin
Most Improved Player = Ouk Sothy (Messi)
Best Celebration = Hong Pheng
Most Important Goal = Kouch Sokumpheak vs Naga
Worst Tackle = Neou Sosela vs TriAsia
Worst Miss = Leng Makara vs Naga
Phnom Penh Crown also handed out their own set of Academy awards this week before the youngsters took a break to spend time with their families. Recognition went to the following Academy players:
Top scorer for U-17s – Chhuot Senteang
Top scorer for U-15s – Mao Piseth
Best Academy Student- Orn Chanpolin and In Sodavid
Most Improved Player – Pov Ponvuthy
Best Behaved Player & Student – Orn Chanpolin
Best Leader – Ouk Sovann
Most Improved Behaviour – Suon Noeut and Kong Chanvuthy.
A big well done to all the Academy boys. We are very proud of them.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
|PPCFC celebrating their success - courtesy of Pou Neang/CamSports|
Crown’s marquee signing Adriano Pellegrino gave his view on what winning the Championship meant to him. “I think it’s been sensational, that’s the right word. Honestly, it’s been a dream come true to come here and have an impact on the team and to be talking right now about winning the championship by 7 points, it’s amazing. It’s been a dream for me, being presented with that medal today and holding that trophy was honestly one of the best moments of my career. I’ve been very pleased with my performance. There was a lot of pressure on me when I first came, to do well and to push on – we had one goal as a team, to win the championship. My personal goal was to come and contribute, score goals and assist my teammates, and today I got another assist to cap it off, which I was pleased with, so all in all I’ve been very pleased with my personal contribution. Most of all our goal was to win the title, and to win the last game where there was nothing to play for, but we trained really hard this week and even though people might say the season was already over, Sam made sure that we won today. A great finish from everyone. Sensational.”
With 52 goals in 3 seasons of football in Cambodia, George Bisan has proved himself a lethal striker. A goal-machine. And he did what his coach Sam Schweingruber wanted him to do when he signed George before the season began, to realise the dream as a team and his dream as a striker and to get success. So how did George view this season? “I feel very excited to win because of the hard work throughout the team and we wanted to achieve this goal and God helped us, so its a great honour and joy. I’m very excited to win the championship trophy. I’m very happy with my own contribution, a little bit sad I cannot get the Golden Boot but at least I won the championship, so that’s enough for me. Next season I will be more explosive, so I will look to next season to get the Golden Boot. I’m very happy with the team because we all work so hard and encourage each other. Especially Adriano who encourages me in the field of play, and Sokumpheak, who tells me to remain calm, relax and play my game as the goals will come. I thank God for the courage he’s given me and for our success this season.”
Odion ‘Tony’ Obadin has just completed his 4th season with Crown and collected his second Championship medal. It would be hard to find a better clubman, and example to his teammates. So we asked Tony how did this success compare to 2011. “It’s not much different to 2011, we worked just as hard this time around as well. My first season was really great, then two seasons where we didn’t achieve enough, we lacked a few things like self-discipline and team discipline. The difference is now that we have so much discipline, teamwork in abundance, hard work and some great quality throughout the team that has really helped us. I can say it was a good season for me personally, last year I was okay but I didn’t perform as well as I did this year. To get five goals this season and a couple of assists and I stepped up my whole game from last season. I’m very happy.”
Crown captain Kouch Sokumpheak flies out to Laos this week with the Cambodia U-21 team for a friendly match, but I caught up with him to ask for this thoughts on winning the Metfone C-League Championship this year, which made it a hat-trick of Championship successes for the former Khemara Keila player. "I'm very happy and very excited to win it again. The second and third times were more meaningful for me as for the first championship I was used not so much and was substitute a lot. Now you can see how much the Cambodian players have improved than before, the same with the different foreign players we now have from so many nations. In my opinion, Crown won the championship because we prepared so well at all levels and we had unity throughout the club, the coaches and the players. The players like each other on and off the pitch, we are like a family. The leaders and administrators are great too. Everyone worked very hard, and worked together, to get this success. That's why I believe we deserved it. For me personally, I'm very happy as I can play a lot of games this season and contribute more to the team. I was so happy that I scored against Naga so that we could win the trophy. Very happy. I'm very pleased we won because we had to work really hard all season, whether under the hot sun or the rain. And I'm glad to win as I am getting old now and I don't know what will happen in the future."