Sunday, September 21, 2014

On show

The PPCFC players at AEON Mall for the launch of the Toyota Mekong Cup
Almost as soon as the friendly match against NagaCorp finished yesterday, seven of the Phnom Penh Crown players headed to the AEON Mall for a launch by the Toyoya (Cambodia) Company of the upcoming Toyota Mekong Club Championship. On a stage in the middle of the new mall, the Crown players and general secretary Ly Heang responded to media questions and posed for photographs. Toyota are putting up a lot of money - $75K for the winners no less - for a competition to find what they are calling the Champion of Champions, of the Mekong region obviously. The players in attendance were Koen Bosma, Adriano Pellegrino, Bin Thierry, Kok Boris, Khim Borey, Yok Ary and Sos Suhana. Afterwards the players headed off for their Pchum Ben holiday break.

While everyone is enjoying their Pchum Ben holiday in Cambodia, Crown's head coach Sam Schweingruber will be spending the holidays in Japan, as he flies out for a week of instructing other coaches and 450 children in Nagoya, the third largest city in Japan. As a FIFA instructor, Sam will be supporting the Japan Football Association's grassroots program. He was recently doing the same thing in China for a month.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Two good halves

PPCFC V Naga starting XI, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Mathnorotin, Bosma, Borey, Sokheng, Ary. Front: Pellegrino, Da, Suhana, Pisa, Chhaya - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 NagaCorp 2 (Friendly).
Crown played their first pre-season practice match at RSN Stadium this afternoon and dominated for the majority of the game played in three periods of 30 minutes, beating Naga 3-2. Coach Sam Schweingruber sent out an experimental line-up for the first period which included trialist Sary Mathnorotin, new face Koen Bosma and two of the Academy players. The Naga goalkeeper was kept busy as Adriano Pellegrino tested him from distance and then Orn Chanpolin, sent in a low drive which the stopper did well to push around the post. On ten minutes Bosma tested his distance shooting but his effort sailed a foot wide. Three minutes later, the Dutchman opened the scoring with a 20-yard drilled shot that gave the keeper no chance. A free-kick from Khim Borey was saved with little seen of Naga as an attacking threat. Schweingruber made six changes at the break including Amm Sovythang, another trialist from Belgium. He tested the keeper after just a minute and then a deflected Pellegrino drive had the stopper back-pedalling to touch the ball over the bar. Another Borey free-kick was pushed wide and Odion Obadin was inches from scoring with a far post header from a Pellegrino corner. In Sodavid released Chea Dara into the box but he screwed his shot across the face of goal and wide. On 44 minutes, a quick throw by Bosma saw Pellegrino set up Sodavid and the 16-year old sent a 20-yard low drive into the corner to make it two, much to the delight of his teammates. With Crown in full control, Pellegrino's headed pass sent Baldwin Ngwa away and he turned Tieng Tiny inside out before unleashing a left foot drive into the far corner, with 55 minutes played. More changes at the end of the second period followed.

Naga's Barry Lelouma got a shot on target six minutes into the third period, though the referee adjudged Touch Sokheng had kicked the winger and Lelouma scored from the resulting penalty. Sovythang went past two defenders with ease but his shot was blocked and Ly Morslim's follow-up endured the same fate. As the game came to a close, Crown keeper Keo Soksela saved at the feet of Teab Vathanak, only for the referee to point to the penalty spot again. Despite the loud protests that followed, Lelouma netted his second spot-kick to end the game with the home side winning 3-2. 
PPCFC v NagaCorp: Ary (Soksela 61), Da (Pisa 61), Chhaya (Dara 31 (Sokheng 61)), Sokheng (Boris 31), Pisa (Obadin 31 (Dara 86)), Suhana (Chanpolin 61), Chanpolin (Sodavid 31 (Pekka 61)), Borey (Sovythang 31), Mathnorotin (Ngwa 31), Pellegrino (Borey 61 (Chhaya 82), Bosma (Morslim 61). Bookings: None. MOTM: Pellegrino. Goals: Bosma (13), Sodavid (44), Ngwa (55).
PPCFC v Naga, start of 2nd period, back row, LtoR: Ary, Bosma, Pellegrino, Boris, Ngwa, Obadin. Front: Da, Dara, Suhana, Sovythang, Sodavid - click to enlarge

Cambodia sunk

The Cambodia line-up v Malaysia. Srin is wearing 9, Yaty is 1 and Sokumpheak is 8! Pic by

The answer, as most people expected, was that Cambodia couldn't spring a surprise result, going down 4-1 to hosts Malaysia in a rare international friendly match this evening in Selangor. Substitute Sok Chanrasmey scored a consolation goal for Cambodia in a game that went pretty much to plan for the home team, who are in the middle of a series of friendlies before they participate in the AFF Susuki Cup. Cambodia too are hoping for a place in that competition, if they can get through the qualifiers being played next month in Laos. This game against Malaysia and one against Indonesia on 25 September are part of their build-up.
The Star Online had this match report from tonight's game: The Malaysians were quick off the block and forced four corners in quick succession in the opening five minutes. And they did not have to wait long to open the scoring, courtesy of midfielder Joseph Kallang Tie in the eighth minute. The Sarawak skipper dispossessed Cambodian defender Sok Sovan on the edge of the box and slotted home past the outrushing Sou Yaty. Malaysia’s second goal in the 15th minute had a touch of good luck. Striker Abdul Manaf Mamat’s stiff shot was parried by Yaty back into the danger area. The ball ricocheted off the unfortunate Moul Daravorn’s knee and into his own goal. Cambodia coach Lee Tae-Hoon threw the lively striker Sok Chanrasmey into the fray for the second half, and the change invigorated the visitors. Still, it was Malaysia who got their third goal in the 65th minute, with Joseph latching onto a through ball from Bobby Gonzales before applying a cool chipped finish. But there was no stopping Sok Chanrasmey on 80 minutes when he sprung the Malaysian offside trap to score. Substitute Baddrol Bakhtiar restored Malaysia’s three-goal advantage with a powerful strike from outside the box two minutes later, after another defensive error. Crown's Ouk Sothy and Hong Pheng eneterd the fray with ten minutes to go, marking their senior team debuts, alongside Ngoy Srin.
Cambodia NT v Malaysia: Yaty, Srin, Samoeun, Daravorn, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Sokumpheak (capt), Sothearoth, PM Udom, Chhoeun, Soksana.

Can Cambodia spring a surpise?

Cambodia's national team are in Malaysia for a friendly later tonight and if they pull off a shock victory, it could spell the end for the Malaysian head coach Dollah Salleh. He himself admits he's walking on thin ice after losing back-to-back friendlies to Tajikistan (4-1) and Indonesia (2-0) in recent weeks and that a convincing win over Cambodia is expected. For the visitors, a positive result would be an unexpected achievement, as of course Cambodia are preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying competition in Laos next month, while Malaysia, as one of the strongest teams in Southeast Asia, will be in the competition proper. There they will meet defending champions and co-hosts Singapore and three-time champions Thailand, alongwith one of the two qualifiers. That could be Cambodia, though most pundits are suggesting its more likely to be Myanmar and hosts Laos that go through from the five-team qualifying pool, that also includes Brunei and Timor-Leste. South Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon sprang a surprise earlier this week when he announced the 20-man Cambodia squad for the Malaysia game, and a further match against Indonesia on 25 September. Two players he's been supportive of since he took charge of the team in August 2010, Sos Suhana from Phnom Penh Crown and Boeung Ket defender Touch Pancharong have been dropped from the touring party, alongwith Kok Boris and Bin Thierry from Crown and Svay Rieng's keeper Sar Sophea and Hoy Phallin. The word is that the door has not been shut on their inclusion in the Suzuki Cup squad but it doesn't look likely they will make it. The match against Indonesia, led by Alfred Riedl and who've recently beaten Pakistan and Nepal and drawn with Yemen and Qatar in friendly games, whilst Cambodia have been completely absent from international matches for the whole of this year, is a replacement fixture after Lebanon withdrew. Fortunately, Cambodia were in the region. In the third of their Suzuki Cup warm-up matches, all away from home, Cambodia will play Chinese Taipei in Taiwan on 8 October, just a few days before they head to the qualifiers in Vientiane. Despite playing no senior international friendly matches for what seems like an eternity, Cambodia moved up two places in the FIFA world rankings to 199 in the latest table, published two days ago. They were previously at 201 out of a total of 208 countries but it seems the rankings pay scant attention to the fact that this national team has not played a match in anger since they lost 2-0 to Guam in November 2013. Mind-boggling.
The Cambodia NT squad v Malaysia & Indonesia: *Yaty, Vichet, Visal, Sovan, Samoeun, Piseth, *Srin, Daravorn, *Pheng, Sovannrithy, Udom, *Sokumpheak, *Sothy, Virak, Sothearath, Chanrasmey, Vathanaka, Chhoeun, Soksana, Laboravy. * denotes PPCFC players.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Late goals win it

PPCFC U-15s v CA. Back row, LtoR: Rafat, Chanmony, Sovannaroth, N David, Safy, Samnang (capt). Front: S David, Piseth, Chetra, Panha, Kakada - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-15 Academy 2 Civil Aviation 0 (U-15 Youth League).
Played at Tonle Bati, this was a tight game in Crown's second Cambodia U-15 Youth League program. Returning from injury, Mao Piseth fired over when well placed, Sin Kakada had a shot well saved and on the half-hour Piseth brought out a brilliant stop from the CA keeper. Goal-less at half-time. Crown suffered a blow ten minutes into the second period when Yet Chetra was booked twice in the space of two minutes and saw red. Both challenges were mis-timed and the dismissal was warranted. However the reduction to ten-men inspired the Crown Academy boys who quickly took control and on 59 minutes they took the lead. Svang Samnang, more often wearing the gloves between the goal-posts, strode confidently forward from his deep-lying midfield position, broke through two tackles and calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net. On 68 minutes the result was sealed. Kakada sent over an inch-perfect cross and Piseth was on hand to head the ball inside the far post and give the Academy a 2-0 winning scoreline. 

PPCFC v Civil Aviation: Rafat, Chanmony, Chetra, Safy, Sovannaroth, Samnang, S David, N David, Kakada, Panha, Piseth. Subs not used: Pisoth, Savey, Punlork, Rina, Samel, Davann. Bookings: Chetra (+ red card). Goals: Samnang (59), Piseth (68).
Footnote: The players who didn't play against Civil Aviation played an 8-a-side against a FFC Academy team a few hours later and won't be keen to remember the scoreline, losing 11-0, during the three periods of twenty minutes each half. Their excuse was they had eaten too much at lunchtime.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cambodia held

The starting XI for Cambodia v JFL
Seven Phnom Penh Crown players took to the pitch for the Cambodia national team in this afternoon's 2-2 draw with the Japan Football League's touring team in a friendly at Olympic Stadium. Kouch Sokumpheak led the team in the goalless first-half alongside Ngoy Srin and Sos Suhana. Both teams struggled to get out of first gear in the opening 45 minutes in front of a healthily-sized audience, though the touring team, who'd beaten both Laos and Myanmar U-23s 3-0 in recent days, were the crisper passing and moving of the two sides. Starting the second-half for the NT were Kok Boris, Ouk Sothy and Sou Yaty, with Crown's Hong Pheng coming on for Sothy for the final thirteen minutes. Bin Thierry didn't get off the bench. The opening twenty minutes of the second half was all Cambodia. JFL sat back and allowed the home team to dominate and Prak Mony Udom saw his effort tipped over the top. A ball in the face for Sothy made him see stars as his legs buckled and he crumpled to the ground, and it took the NT coach Lee Tae-Hoon running onto the pitch for local referee Thong Chankethya to stop play. Why the referee didn't understand the seriousness of the situation is beyond me - everyone else did. Ten minutes in and a mistake by the JFL keeper and Chhin Chhoeun fired home the opening salvo. Udom and Khuon Laboravy also went close before Sok Chanrasmey got the final touch at close quarters to send the home fans into raptures. Two goals ahead and looking good. But that's where it ended as the visitors took back control in no uncertain terms. Sou Yaty was the busiest man on the pitch for the last 25 minutes. He pulled off a great save but had no chance with a powerful header from Tanaka on 74 minutes. It was a poorly-defended corner in truth. In the last four minutes of the game, Yaty made three reflex saves, getting himself injured in the process as he clattered into the post, and it came as no surprise when JFL equalised three minutes into stoppage time. The leveller cane through Suzuki from the edge of the area as Cambodia were slow to close down. So at the end, a disappointing result for the NT against a team put together from Japan's fourth tier of football. That twenty-minute spell was enough to get the fans on their feet but successfully defending a lead must be the priority for the NT to work on ahead of their Suzuki Cup exploits next month. Upcoming away international games in Malaysia and Chinese Taipei lie ahead before they set sail for Laos.

Crown go down

PPCFC v Albirex, back row, LtoR: Ngwa, Chanpolin, Obadin, Sovythang, Sodavid, Ary. Front: Da, Sokheng, Bosma, Dara, Mathnorotin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 Albirex Niigata 3 (Friendly).
The result didn't go to plan in this afternoon's practice match at the Navy field after Crown led 1-nil at the half-time break. Koen Bosma played after arriving in the country from his home in Holland the day before. Also appearing were Amm Sovythang, a Khmer from Belgium and Sary Mathnorotin of AEU, both looking to secure a place in Crown's squad ahead of the new season. Chea Dara blasted over the top and Bosma's 30-yard free-kick was tipped around the post early on. Yok Ary had to be quick to save with his feet on a bouncy surface. Bosma's shot on the turn was charged down and Baldwin Ngwa headed the ball home, only for it to be ruled out for offside. The Crown goal came on 33 minutes when Sovythang cut inside and his shot looped into the net from a defender's deflection. Ly Morslim and Orn Chanpolin also went close as Crown dominated the opening half. After the break it was a different story. A challenge by substitute Sraing Titchhy in the second minute of the restart gave Albirex a penalty which Yok Ary guessed correctly and saved. They did hit the net three minutes later and took the lead on the hour after Ary failed to collect a corner. Ten minutes from time, Albirex scored a third, though it looked yards offside, to seal a rare win. There was still time for Bosma to try a final attempt, which was well saved.

PPCFC v Albirex: Ary, Pisa, Da, Sokheng (Apollo 81), Obadin, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Titchhy 46), Sovythang (Baraing 56), Mathnorotin (Morslim 32 (Borey 60)), Bosma, Ngwa. Goal: OG (33).

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friendly and with the press

Khim Borey (red) with Becamex's Nguyen Anh Duc earlier today
Eight players from Phnom Penh Crown will be in the mix to play against the visiting Japan Football League team at Olympic Stadium in tomorrow's friendly match, kick off at 4pm. The JFL, from the country's fourth tier of football which hosts their best amateur clubs, have already beaten the Laos U-23s and met Myanmar U-23s, and arrive in Phnom Penh for a match against the senior Cambodia team, who are in training camp for their AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying games in mid-October. The 8 players include Bin Thierry, who returned to the squad earlier this week after his knee injury cleared up sufficiently for him to resume training. The others are Sou Yaty, Ngoy Srin, Hong Pheng, Kouch Sokumpheak, Ouk Sothy, Kok Boris and Sos Suhana.

This morning saw Khim Borey and general secretary Ly Heang represented Phnom Penh Crown at the press launch in Hanoi, of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship competition. A well-attended press conference took place with Borey rubbing shoulders with Becamex Binh Duong striker, Nguyen Anh Duc, a regular in the Vietnam national team and with Becamex for many seasons. Crown will meet Becamex in the semi final at the Vietnam champions home ground on 31 October. The other semi-final is between HAGL Attapeu (Laos) and Ayeyawady United (Myanmar); with the final due on 2 November. Substantial prize money of $75,000 goes to the winning team.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

23 without reply

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Rafat, Safy, Savey, Sovannaroth, Chanmony, N David (capt). Front Row: Sophara, Panha, S David, Kakada, Chetra - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown U-15s 23 Kandal 0 (U-15 Youth League).
The Crown Academy U-15s started the defence of their U-15 Cambodia Youth League title with what can only be described as a comprehensive victory. The two halves were 35 minutes each and Crown led 12-0 at half-time. The game was played at Tonle Bati. New face Vuth Sophara started the rout on five minutes with a neat lob. Pich Sovannaroth's bye-line center was headed home by Sok Panha, who went onto score 9 goals, soon after. Panha was a replacement in attack for Mao Piseth, who injured his groin in the warm-up. The Kandal keeper couldn't keep Tong Chanmony's shot from creeping over the line and was helpless as Panha finished off Sin Kakada's cross. Kakada himself scored when his center found its way into the net at the far post. He struck again on 23 minutes, taking a San David pass into his stride before firing home. Sophara grabbed his second with a well-measured 25-yard lob less than a minute later. The goals were coming thick and fast and the next five all came from the boot of Panha. San David won a tackle and set him free down the middle for an easy finish. A great Kakada pass saw Panha shoot straight through the Kandal keeper. Nop David weaved his way through three challenges and set up Panha for another, Chea Savey's pass found the striker in space and he made it eleven before Panha scored his seventh of the game from Sophara pass on the stroke of half-time. One-way traffic doesn't really do the sentence justice.

A tired goal-kick went straight to Kakada and he scored two minutes on from the restart. Sophara and Panha both then struck the woodwork before Chanmony robbed a defender to score with ease. Moments later he repeated the feat, winning a tackle with the keeper to score. A Panha shot was well stopped by the over-worked goalkeeper only for Sophara to knock in the rebound. Another weak goal-kick was returned with Panha rolling it in, and then Chanmony tapped home after Panha's unselfish pass. Chanmony capitalised on another poor kick out to score, Panha hit the cross-bar before Sophara made it twenty goals, smashing Kakada's pass into the roof of the net. Panha took his personal tally to nine after making the opening himself. Chanmony netted his double hat-trick tally with a diving header form Kakada's cross, and the final word went to Sophara, the new boy, who crowned his fine game with yet another lob from distance.ment in attack, Sok Panha scored 9 goals, 7 of them in the first-half. Tong Chanmony scored 6, Vuth Sophara on his debut, scored 5 and Sin Kakada netted 3 goals
PPCFC U-15s v Kandal: Rafat, Chanmony, Chetra (Samel 52), Safy (Rina 47), Sovannaroth, Savey, N David (capt), S David (Pisoth 43), Kakada, Sophara, Panha. Subs not used: S Samnang, Punlork, Darapich, Davann. Goals: Panha 9 (8, 15, 28, 29, 32, 34, 36, 52, 63), Chanmony 6 (14, 40, 41, 54, 59, 65), Sophara 5 (5, 24, 50, 62, 69), Kakada 3 (17, 23, 37).
LtoR: Tong Chanmony (6 goals), Sok Panha (9 goals) and Vuth Sophara (5 goals) - click to enlarge

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baldwin seals it

PPCFC 1st half, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Borey, Ngwa, Sokheng, Da, Ary. Front Row: Chhaya, Chanpolin, Sodavid, Titchhy, Morslim - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown XI 2 Albirex Niigata 1 (Friendly).
Crown's pre-season got off to a pleasing start with a good first 45 minutes in this afternoon's practice match against Albirex Niigata at the Navy field. Crown began their training just a few days ago whilst Albirex have been have been training for months as they await their MCL play-off match. With 4 Academy players starting, and Orn Chanpolin the pick of the Crown side, the first goal came on 22 minutes as Kim Chhaya touched a Khim Borey free-kick onto Baldwin Ngwa and his bouncing shot crept inside the far post. Borey and Ly Morslim had already gone close to giving Crown the lead. Chhaya saw his 25-yard screamer tipped over by the keeper, though Albirex hit the post in a rare break. Ngwa struck again, on the half hour, nicking the ball off the goalkeeper and tapping it over the goal-line. Crown made five changes at the break. The second-half opened up with a headed goal for Albirex after just 28 seconds, as Crown were caught cold. Chea Dara had a fierce shot pushed over the bar, Ngwa headed a free-kick just wide and the same player volleyed over from close in. The performance intensity slowed in the second half because of the hot conditions but a good first work-out nonetheless.

PPCFC v Albirex: Ary (Soksela 46), Da (Sovann 46), Titchhy (Baraing 46), Sokheng (Sodavid 79), Obadin, Chanpolin (Apollo 67), Sodavid (Mathnorotin 46), Chhaya (Dara 46), Morslim (Alex 67), Borey (Chhaya 79), Ngwa. Goals: Ngwa 2 (22, 30)
PPCFC 2nd half, back row, LtoR: Obadin, Sokheng, Ngwa, Mathnorotin, Soksela, Sovann. Front Row: Chanpolin, Borey, Baraing, Morslim, Dara - click to enlarge

Thursday, September 4, 2014

U-15s fixtures

The PPCFC U-15s squad; Back Row LtR-Chea Savey, Yet Chetra, Tong Chanmony, Sok Panha, Mao Piseth, Chriv Sokundavann, Yue Safy, Kung Rafa, Pich Sovannaroth. Front Row - Mit Samel, Lim Pisoth, Nann Punlork, Kie Rina, San David, Sin Kakada, Vuth Sopheara, Nop David
The fixtures for the 2014 Cambodia Youth League U-15 competition, with all matches to be played at Tonle Bati on Sunday mornings, have just been announced. Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s begin this Sunday (7 Sept) with a match against Kandal at 10am. There are 9 teams in league and the team with the most points after 8 games will be the champions. The Academy fixtures are:
7 Sep Vs Kandal - 10am
14 Sep Vs Civil Aviation - 10am
28 Sep Vs Takeo PM - 10am
12 Oct Vs Svay Rieng - 10am
19 Oct Vs Chhlam Samut - 8am
26 Oct Vs Chraing Chamres - 10am
16 Nov Vs CCF - 10am
23 Nov Vs Cambodia FFC Academy - 10am.

Only four teams have entered the U-17 Youth League and fixtures, also at Tonle Bati, are not due to start until 5 October, that's if they start at all.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crown to face V-League champs

Sam Schweingruber speaking to the media
At the same time as Phnom Penh Crown received their official invitation to join the Toyota Mekong Club Championship at the weekend, it was revealed that their opponents in the semi-final will be the Eximbank Vietnamese League champions Becamex Binh Duong on 31 October at the home of the V-League team, the Go Dau stadium, just outside of Ho Chi Minh City. That's the toughest draw possible for Crown, with the Laos champions, HAGL Attapeu facing the winners of the Myanmar Ooredoo Cup, Ayeyawady United in the other semi-final. The final will be played two days later. With big prize money up for grabs - the winners receive $75,000 while the 4th-placed team gets $10,000 - winning that semi-final match has both national pride and monetary rewards at stake. Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber, whose team starts back for pre-season training today, had this to say about the competition. "We hope that all our players will be fit and ready at the end of October - obviously we'll have to wait and see. Right now Thierry is struggling with a knee injury, but we hope its nothing serious and he is back to full strength soon. We are going to be short in numbers during our pre-season, which is a big concern as we are without our national team players until 11 days before the Mekong Cup - which is a serious challenge to ideal preparations. I've started to look at the 3 teams that we might play and started to request information - but so far have not had the time to start a detailed study. Now we know that for the first game we will face the champions of Vietnam, Binh Duong. So far I have only seen a few small clips of their last games and I hope I can study them in more detail soon. From what I understand, we can register 5 foreign players and have 4 of them involved in the game, so I expect our foreign players to play an important role in helping us get the best possible result. Can we win? You never know, football can bring surprises. Sure, we know that on paper the V-League is much stronger than our league in Cambodia and that the teams have bigger budgets and better players, more experience and so on. Binh Duong is a very good team and we need to prepare as well as possible, to be ready to give our very best and with some luck, maybe we can surprise them. A lot of things will need to go perfect for us. It's a great challenge and we don't have that much to lose, we are the underdogs, that can help us."
For Binh Duong it was the club's third championship success after getting into the top division in 2004. They won it in 2007 and 2009 and progressed from 8th spot in 2013 to become this year's champions. However, they suffered a setback in the Vietnam National Cup final, losing to unfancied Haiphong.
Becamex Binh Duong receiving their 2014 Championship trophy

Sunday, August 31, 2014


LtoR, back row: Srin, Ngwa, Obadin, Bisan, Boris, Pheng. Middle row: Da, Makara, Ary, Yaty, Soksela, Pisa, Dara. Front row:  Sothy, Borey, Thierry, Sokumpheak, Morslim, Sokheng, Suhana - click to enlarge
The Phnom Penh Crown first team assembled at RSN Stadium for a photo session this morning. Despite the RSN stadium resembling a building site with work taking place on both the training pitch and in building the new stadium alongside it, the team posed for the camera in their usual red strip as well as new training kit from sponsors Missing from the photo-call were Adriano Pellegrino and Koen Bosma, not yet back from their homeland countries.
The PPCFC squad in a new training kit from, with president Rithy Samnang and coach Sam Schweingruber in the front row - click to enlarge

Photographer Masayori Ishikawa testing a team photo venue at RSN

Two games, two wins

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Rafat, Sovannaroth, Chanmony, Panha, Sophara, Savey. Front: N David, Kakada, Chetra, S David, Piseth - click to enlarge

The Phnom Penh Crown Academy teams, at U-15 and U-17, took on the Rachana FC teams from Prek Kdam this morning at the BBU playing field in back-to-back friendly matches. The U-15s went first, recording a 4-1 success with Sin Kakada opening the scoring on 9 minutes before Mao Piseth waded in with a hat-trick of goals on 22, 42 and 44 minutes. The sides played two 35-minute halves. There were debuts for three new permanent faces in the Academy, having just arrived from Battambang, namely Chea Savey, Kie Rina and Vuth Sophara.

The U-17s then met an older Rachana team and found them harder to break down than the last time the two sides met, when Crown won 11-0. In fact only an Ouk Sovann penalty on 10 minutes, for a foul on In Sodavid, separated the sides at the interval. Though Chhuot Senteang will rue the five good chances he failed to register with. After the break, Sodavid netted a fine individual goal on 54 minutes, and Yeu Muslim tapped home after Vat Samnang's free-kick was spilled on 59 minutes. Two minutes later Mat Noron kept his feet to finish off a Sodavid pass, and on 69 minutes he measured his lob correctly after Orn Chanpolin found him with a lovely chipped pass. The final score was Crown Academy U-17s 5 Rachana FC 1.
PPCFC U-17s: Chanvuthy (S Samnang 46), Sovann (Phearath 46), Chhaya (Chansopheak 46), Titchhy (Sovann 76), V Samnang, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Rozak 74), Rozak (Piphop 46), Sakrovy (Noron 38), Ponvuthy (Senteang 74), Senteang (Muslim 46). Goals: Sovann ( 10 pen), Sodavid (54), Muslim (59), Noron 2 (61, 69).
PPCFC U-17s, 2nd half starters, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Sodavid, Noron, V Samnang, Titchhy, S Samnang. Front: Muslim, Chansopheak, Piphop, Ponvuthy, Phearath - click to enlarge

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Crown invited to join

The formal invitation to PPCFC
Phnom Penh Crown were officially invited to join the upcoming Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2014 at a ceremony at the Olympic Stadium this afternoon. Hao Tien, the Vice President of Toyota Motors joined with Crown President Rithy Samnang and FFC General Secretary Kul Sophana to mark the invitation for the tournament that will be held in Ho Chi Minh City with the champions of 4 Mekong countries - Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. It promises to be an intriguing tournament, the first of its kind, from 31 Oct-2 Nov. Word on the terraces is that the Vietnamese champions, Becamex Binh Duong have been drawn against Crown in the semi-final. The winning team will receive prize money of $75,000 with the runners-up receiving $50,000, third place $30,000 and 4th place $10,000. Joining the officials at the ceremony were Crown stars Kouch Sokumpheak and Bin Thierry, taking time off their national team duties, and head coach Sam Schweingruber.

Laos look to Booth

Former PPCFC coach David Booth, now in charge of Laos again
Former Phnom Penh Crown head coach David Booth has been handed the task, for a second time, to coach the Laos national team, for the remainder of this year. Laos will be the hosts of the AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying competition in October and will be looking to Booth's vast experience in these situations, to steer them into the final stages. He did just that for Laos back in 2010. His first game will be against Cambodia on 12 October and promises to be an intriguing contest, as he will come face to face with a few of his former Crown players. Booth was the coach of Lao Toyota for most of the season just completed, where they finished second. He will be in charge of the club side next season too. Let's not forget it was the British-born coach who won the Cambodian Championship with Crown in 2011 and came so close to winning the AFC President's Cup, losing the final in Taiwan. He was previously in charge of the national teams of Brunei, Myanmar and Laos, before spells at Sisaket, Crown, Salgaocar and Lao Toyota.

Friday, August 29, 2014

At the World Vision festival

The PPCFC contingent at Koh Pich
Phnom Penh Crown turned out in force this afternoon at Koh Pich for the World Vision Cambodia Youth Festival, in front of 3,000 youngsters. Club President Rithy Samnang spoke on the stage, as did Khim Borey, Kouch Sokumpheak, Odion Obadin and Sam Schweingruber amongst others, in support of the Child Health Now campaign and their aim to reduce malnutrition in Cambodia. A Crown team played a World Vision team at five-a-side football, both men and women and had a lot of fun, cheered on by the noisy audience. The club have also made two videos with World Vision, spreading the awareness of the child malnutrition problem in Cambodia, and promoting the advantages of a healthy lifestyle.
The two teams that played the men's football exhibition match

The PPCFC men and girls on stage at Koh Pich

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Suzuki squad

The Korean coach of the Cambodia national team, Lee Tae-Hoon, with his main target this year of being one of two teams to qualify from the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying tournament in Laos between 12-20 October, has named an initial squad of thirty players to begin training this week. That squad will be whittled down to 25 and then just twenty players will make the trip to Vientiane. Reports suggest that a training camp in Korea has been shelved in favour of one in Vietnam and that the team will play some international friendlies leading up to the qualifiers. I'll believe that when I see it. Optimism was initially raised by the recent performances of the Cambodia U-21 team in an invitational tournament in Brunei, though that disappeared when the team were soundly beaten by the Vietnamese U-19s in their final match. So it's now up to Lee to raise the spirits again for the matches in October against Laos (12/10), Timor Leste (16/10), Myanmar (18/10) and Brunei (20/10). Lee's record in competitive games since he took over the national team, which was initially in August 2010 for 22 months before he returned for a second stint in August of last year, is 7 wins in 33 games, which includes three victories recently in Brunei. Draw your own conclusions from that record. Of the thirty players he's collected together this week, I'll take a stab at who I think he will choose to be his final 20, perhaps with the addition of Chhunly Pagenburg, who's playing Germany at the moment, if he can be persuaded to join the tournament. I reiterate, these are Lee's choices, not mine: Yaty, Vichet, Pancharong, Samoeun, Sovan, Sovannrithy, Boris, Pheng, Khemarin, Piseth, Sothearath, Thierry, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Phallin, Chhoeun, Udom, Laboravy, Vathanaka, Soksana.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Academy crowned as champs

Crown Academy crowned champions
Captain Seut Baraing lifts the Yamaha Challenge International Tournament trophy as Phnom Penh Crown’s U-15 Academy team were crowned the winners of the first-ever six-team international friendly competition.  The Academy won four of their five matches over the three days of games held at the FFC’s Tonle Bati headquarters. The GIFU Select team from Japan were runners-up, on the same points as Crown but with a far inferior goal difference, with the FFC’s own Academy team coming in third place.
The Crown results were as follows - full match reports to follow:
The Academy defeated the FFC Academy comprehensively in Friday’s opening match of the Yamaha Challenge Tournament at Tonle Bati. PPCFC ran out 6-0 winners with Kim Chhaya getting a hat-trick (26, 31, 47 mins) and a goal each for Mao Piseth (14), captain Seut Baraing (30) and substitute Suon Noeut (55).
Mao Piseth struck 4 times as the Crown U-15 Academy team put the Global Football Academy from Singapore, who are all Japanese players, to the sword, winning 8-1 in Saturday morning’s Yamaha Challenge game. Piseth scored after 1, 17, 30 and 46 minutes. Sin Kakada scored a penalty on 20 mins and Kim Chhaya fired in his goal with fifty seconds on the clock at the start of the 2nd period. Sok Panha and Suon Noeut wrapped it up late on.
The Saturday afternoon Yamaha Challenge game for the U-15 Academy team was a much closer affair than their previous two victories. The GIFU Select team from Japan are in Cambodia on training camp and had won their earlier 2 matches as well. Crown had the better chances in the first-half but there were no goals. Svang Samnang saved well with his feet early in the 2nd half and then tipped over a free-kick later on. In between Suon Noeut, Seut Baraing and Kim Chhaya went close. With 3 minutes to go, Men Piphop crossed, Sin Kakada headed it goalwards and it took a deflection on its way in. GIFU refused to lie-down and hit the bar, before equalizing with a minute left on the clock. In stoppage time Noeut curled a shot against the post and then saw a certain goal saved on the line by a retreating defender. 1-1 was the final result leaving all to play for tomorrow.
The first match for the U-15 Academy team on Sunday morning was against Civil Aviation. Crown started off like a train and were 2 goals ahead in five minutes through Suon Noeut and Choun Chanchav. Four minutes later and CCSA were down to 10 when Soun Sopheaktra was dismissed for two yellow cards. Moments before the break, Noeut was fouled and scored from the penalty kick. Noeut completed his hat-trick 8 minutes after the restart before Kim Chhaya crashed home a 25-yard piledriver. Two goals from Mao Piseth completed the rout.
Crown needed to win to make sure of collecting the Yamaha trophy and they did just that with a great comeback after Svay Rieng took a 4th minute lead. SVR had their keeper Samnang Devid to thank for keeping them ahead, as he saved Kim Chhaya’s penalty seconds before the interval and continued to thwart Crown after the break. On 42 minutes Mao Piseth, the tournament’s top scorer with 7 goals, headed Crown level and Chhaya put them in the lead with a 30 yard free-kick that sailed over the keeper with 4 minutes to go. Captain Seut Baraing made sure of the victory with another 30-yard free-kick that bounced over the keeper to give the PPCFC U-15 Academy team the first-ever Yamaha trophy.

Svay Rieng finished off

PPCFC v SVR, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Sovannaroth, Chanchav, Chhaya, Noeut, Baraing. Front: Chanmony, Chetra, Piseth, S David, Rozak - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC U-15s 3 Svay Rieng 1 (Yamaha Challenge).
Crown's U-15 Academy boys needed to win to make sure of collecting the Yamaha Challenge trophy and they did just that with a great comeback after Svay Rieng took a 4th minute lead. SVR had their keeper Samnang Devid to thank for keeping them ahead, as he saved Kim Chhaya's penalty seconds before the interval and continued to thwart Crown after the break. On 42 minutes Mao Piseth, the tournament's top scorer with 7 goals, headed Crown level and Chhaya put them in the lead with a 30 yard free-kick that sailed over the keeper with 4 minutes to go. Captain Seut Baraing made sure of the victory with another 30-yard free-kick that bounced over the keeper to earn the Crown U-15 Academy team the first-ever Yamaha trophy. More to follow.

Aviation downed

PPCFC v Civil, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Sovannaroth, Chanchav, Chhaya, Noeut, Baraing. Front: Chanmony, S David, Piseth, Chetra, Rozak - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC U-15s 7 Civil Aviation 0 (Yamaha Challenge).
The first match for the Crown U-15 Academy team this morning in the Yamaha Challenge Tournament Day 3 was against Civil Aviation. Crown started off like a train and were 2 goals ahead in five minutes through Suon Noeut and Choun Chanchav. Four minutes later and CCSA were down to 10 when Soun Sopheaktra was dismissed for two yellow cards. Moments before the break, Noeut was fouled and scored from the penalty kick. Noeut completed his hat-trick 8 minutes after the restart before Kim Chhaya crashed home a 25-yard piledriver. Two goals from Mao Piseth completed the rout. More to follow.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Close affair

PPCFC v GIFU, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Safy, Chanchav, Chhaya, Baraing. Front: Piphop, Chanmony, Chetra, Piseth, Noeut, Rozak - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC U-15s 1 GIFU Select Japan 1 (Yamaha Challenge).
The afternoon Yamaha Challenge game for the Crown U-15 Academy team was a much closer affair than their previous two victories. The GIFU Select team from Japan are in Cambodia on training camp and had won their earlier 2 matches as well. Crown had the better chances in the first-half but there were no goals. Svang Samnang saved well with his feet early in the 2nd half and then tipped over a free-kick later on. In between Suon Noeut, Seut Baraing and Kim Chhaya went close. With 3 minutes to go, Men Piphop crossed, Sin Kakada headed it goalwards and it took a deflection on its way in. GIFU refused to lie-down and hit the bar, before equalizing with a minute left on the clock. In stoppage time Noeut curled a shot against the post and then saw a certain goal saved on the line by a retreating defender. 1-1 was the final result leaving all to play for tomorrow. In the other games, FFC defeated GFA 3-0 and Civil Service beat Svay Rieng 3-0. More to follow.

Another eight for Academy

PPCFC v GFA, back row, LtoR; Samnang, Rozak, Chanchav, Chhaya, Safy, Baraing. Front: Chanmony, Piphop, Piseth, Kakada, Chetra - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC U-15s 8 GFA Singapore 1 (Yamaha Challenge).
Carrying on where they left off the previous day, after defeating the FFC Academy 6-0, the Crown youngsters took the game to the Japanese boys from the Global Football Academy in Singapore and opened the scoring in the first minute. Mao Piseth tapped in from close range from Kim Chhaya's cross. Chhaya lobbed a shot onto the crossbar before Piseth added his second on 17 minutes, taking a pass from Sin Kakada in his stride and working the space to role his shot inside the far corner. Three minutes later Sath Rozak was felled in the area and Kakada put the penalty kick into the corner. On the stroke of half-time, Seut Baraing's long ball sent Piseth away and he rounded the goalkeeper to net a first-half hat-trick. Within fifty seconds of the restart, Chhaya fired in from the edge of the box after a cross was cleared straight to him. GFA pulled a goal back on 40 minutes as Crown rang the changes and missed some good chances. On 46 minutes Lim Pisoth weaved his way past three players and though his shot was saved, Piseth followed up to stroke the ball home for his fourth. Three minutes from time - each half was thirty minutes duration - Suon Noeut put in Sok Panha and his near post shot crept inside the upright. In stoppage time, Piseth set up Noeut and he made no mistake firing past the keeper. Two games and two victories for Crown in the Yamaha Challenge International tournament.
PPCFC v GFA: Samnang (Rafat 37), Chanmony (Panha 42), Chetra, Safy (Sovannaroth 37), Baraing, Rozak (Pisoth 42), Chanchav, Piphop (S David 42), Kakada (Samel 51), Chhaya (Noeut 37), Piseth. MOTM: Piseth. Goals: Piseth 4 (1, 17, 30, 46), Kakada pen (20), Chhaya (31), Panha (57), Noeut (60+2).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Six goals without reply

PPCFC U-15s, LtoR: Samnang, Safy, Sovannaroth, Chanchav, Chhaya, Baraing (capt). Front: Chanmony, S David, Piseth, Kakada, Rozak - click to enlarge
Result: PPCFC U-15s 6 FFC Academy 0 (Yamaha Challenge).
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy team got their Yamaha Challenge International Tournament competition off to the best possible start with a crushing 6-0 win over the Cambodia Federation's own Academy team this afternoon at the Tonle Bati HQ. Tomorrow, Crown face the two overseas teams from Japan and Singapore. Coach Bouy Dary selected a combination of first-generation Academy players and some of the second intake and they combined well to lead by three goals at the break. Mao Piseth opened the floodgates on14 minutes with Kim Chhaya adding a second on 26 minutes and captain Seut Baraing making it three just before the break. The matches are 11-a-side but of thirty minutes duration for each half. A minute after the restart and Chhaya scored his second and then completed his hat-trick on 47 minutes. Substitute Suon Noeut, who has been unwell in recent weeks, came on and scored the sixth goal on 55 minutes to complete the rout.
PPCFC v FFC: Samnang, Chanmony, Sovannaroth, Safy, Baraing, Chanchav, Rozak, S David, Kakada, Chhaya, Piseth. Subs: Rafat, Pisoth, Piphop, Noeut, N David, Panha, Samel, Chetra. Goals: Chhaya 3 (26, 31, 47), Piseth (14), Baraing (30), Noeut (55).
The other results were; Svay Rieng 1 GIFU Japan 3 and Civil Aviation 6 GFA Singapore 0.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Albirex too strong

U-17s v Albvirex, back row, LtoR: Titchhy, Chanchav, Senteang, Sodavid, Sakrovy, Chanvuthy. Front: Rozak, Ponvuthy, Baraing, Phearath, Sovann - click to enlarge

The Phnom Penh Crown U-17 Academy team suffered a rare defeat this afternoon at the hands of Albirex Niigata, losing 4-0. The practice game was played at a bumpy Navy field and with Albirex showcasing a number of new faces ahead of their C-League play-off matches, they were in better shape than the Academy who've only just returned to training and were without a few regulars. Amongst a half a dozen new faces with Albirex were the recently-departed Neou Sosela, part of the Championship-winning Crown squad, as well as Naga's San Narith and Western's Men Seyha, who also played with PPCFC in the past. The Academy were missing injured regulars Orn Chanpolin, Suon Noeut, Kim Chhaya and Men Piphop. Albirex opened the scoring on five minutes, though Chhuot Senteang will wonder how Mat Muslim in the Albirex goal kept the scoreline at 1-0 at the interval with a point-blank save midway through the first half. Former Crown winger Neou Sosela extended the lead ten minutes after the break before Yusuke Ueda netted two more for the Japanese-run team. Crown went close through a Vat Samnang free-kick, and Long Phearath and Pov Ponvuthy who had shots saved but could find no way back for a rare defeat. The Academy are looking ahead to the start of the Cambodia Youth League next month, though a few of the players will also take part in the Yamaha Challenge tournament beginning tomorrow.
PPCFC U-17s v Albirex: Chanvuthy (Samnang 58), Sovann, Phearath (V Samnang 23), Baraing (Senteang 68), Titchhy (Phearath 46), Chanchav (Rozak 67), Sodavid, Rozak (Noron 46), Sakrovy, Ponvuthy, Senteang (Muslim 53).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PVF will meet Harimau Muda

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

Bubble burst

Cambodia went down 3-0 to Vietnam. Pic courtesy Lim Vandy
The bubble burst in the final group game of Cambodia U-21s Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in Brunei this evening. Three victories and a single defeat had given Cambodia a chance to progress to the semis if they could beat Vietnam's highly-rated U-19 team. They couldn't. They went down 3-0. And their dreams were shattered. More precisely, the hopes of their fans were left in tatters, after the expectation had risen to serious levels on social media. It didn't look promising when the coach Lee Tae-Hoon's team selection was announced with captain Kouch Sokumpheak and Sos Suhana on the bench (tiredness was the reason for their exclusion), though Ngoy Srin and Thourng Da both returned after suspension. And promising it wasn't as Vietnam looked only marginally better in the opening half but took their chances to lead 2-0 with goals on the half-hour and with the final kick of the first-half. Both goals were scored by Ho Tuan Tai. They dominated the second period with Um Vichet forced to rescue his side on a few occasions, before Vietnam wrapped it up with ten minutes to go with Phan Van Long netting. 3-0 the final score. Vietnam would always be the toughest of the opposition, and so it proved. Cambodia now come home, with three wins and two defeats under their belts, financially better off after gifts from the FFC, BIDC and the Sultan, but with a sour taste in the mouth of many of their fans after promising so much, only to fail at the final hurdle. Cambodia v Vietnam: Vichet, Da, Samoeun, Sovan, Daravorn, Srin, Soksana, Pisor, Chhoeun, Udom, Borey.  Subs: Phearun, Sokumpheak, Suhana, Phallin, Vathanaka, Ravy, Tola.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Academy net 11

Academy v Rachana, back row, LtoR: Chanvuthy, Titchhy, Sovann, Sodavid, Chanpolin, Rozak. Front: Baraing, Senteang, Ponvuthy, Nuron, Phearath - click to enlarge
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy were back in action Sunday afternoon at RSN. Their visitors were the Rachana team from Prek Kdam, who were older and unbeaten according to their manager. That was about to change as the Academy ran out 11-0 victors. Crown are getting ready for the upcoming Youth League which begins next month with U-15 and U-17 competitions. It took just seven minutes for Sath Rozak to open the scoring, lobbing the keeper from Orn Chanpolin's pass. Ouk Sovann was finding lots of room at right-back and he slotted in the next, on 20 minutes from Mat Nuron's pass. The home team were creating chances at will and on the half hour, Chhuot Senteang tapped in from Pov Ponvuthy's center. A Senteang breakaway, a Chanpolin pass and In Sodavid drilled the ball in off the upright two minutes later. Within a minute Sovann grabbed his second, with a neat finish from Chanpolin's through ball. With their next attack, the Academy made is six at the break as Ponvuthy set up Senteang and his chip was inch perfect. Four minutes after the restart, Seut Baraing's venture down the left flank set up Senteang for his hat-trick, with a simple tap in. Yeu Muslim set up Nuron for a clinical finish from an angle, ten minutes in. Ten minutes later, Chanpolin netted with a clean strike from Long Phearath's pass. Coach Bouy Dary made changes before Mao Piseth gave Sraing Titchhy the space to fire home from 20 yards. Chanpolin rounded off the 11-0 victory with a shot from outside the box that crept through the keeper's legs. 
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

Sokumpheak's goal is decisive

Cambodia v Indonesia, back row, LtoR: Samoeun, Udom, Vathanaka, Tola, Vichet, Sovan. Front: Phallin, Daravorn, Suhana, Pidor, Sokumpheak [pic Lim Vandy]
The Cambodian U-21s kept their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals alive with their third win in four Group B matches in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in Brunei this afternoon. Up against the Indonesia U-19s, they weathered an early scare to lead by half-time and to hold onto their advantage, winning 2-1 at the final whistle. A victory in their final match against Vietnam on Monday evening would see them move into the semi-final stages of the competition. With Ngoy Srin and Thourng Da out through suspension, Sos Suhana was called into partner captain Kouch Sokumpheak in the middle of midfield. Goalkeeper Um Vichet made an early stop as Indonesia began brightly but it was Prak Mony Udom who went closest, smashing a shot against the foot of the upright on 15 minutes. Sokumpheak got the faintest of touches with his head to force a corner and moments later, Hoy Phallin's cross flicked off the head of Sok Sovan and crept into the corner on 22 minutes. Udom saw his free-kick tipped over the top but Indonesia were back in the game four minutes before the break. Cambodia failed to clear their lines and Vichet was beaten by a lob and as it rebounded off the cross-bar, Dimas had the easy task of nodding it into an empty net. Not to be denied, a minute before the break captain Sokumpheak was in the box to meet Udom's cross and got a lucky break as a defender's attempted cut-out caught him on the thigh and bounced over the goal-line. Cambodia were 2-1 ahead at the break. Indonesia missed a glorious chance early after the restart but that was it as far as chances were concerned, with play bogged down in midfield and Indonesia simply not good enough to break down the Cambodian defensive unit. An injury to Vichet when he hit his head on the ground, added six minutes of stoppage time, but they were never in danger as Cambodia claimed their third victory of the tournament.
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 on the Mekong Cup

Sam Schweingruber - by Masayori Ishikawa
A brand new competition, the Toyota Mekong Club Championship is a reward for Phnom Penh Crown's Cambodian League Championship success. It's a 4-team tournament which will be held for the first time, in Vietnam, between 31 October and 2 November 2014. Toyota have put together the Champions of 4 countries - Vietnam (Becamex Binh Duong), Cambodia (Phnom Penh Crown), Laos (HAGL Attapeu) and Myanmar (still to be decided) - to organise this exciting competition, to find the best club team in the Mekong region. The venue has recently been switched to Ho Chi Minh City, with teams eligible to have 4 foreign players in their 18-man squad. There will be semi-final matches, then a 3rd/4th place play-off before the grand final. Its expected the matches will be screened live on TV in all four countries and the winning team will take home a cash prize of $75,000. The competition's Most Valuable Player will receive $15,000. Now that's prizemoney that is well worth winning. 
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 @

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.