Friday, April 30, 2010

Referee knocking

It looks like referee Khoun Ly is really enjoying his work! Pic: nicksellsphotography
I must admit I'm not the biggest fan of the match officials in the Metfone C-League. One or two can get through their games without resorting to frantically waving their yellow and red cards in the air anytime someone makes a tackle, but they are in a minority. There's a distinct lack of consistency amongst the referees and it's painful to watch some of their decisions from the stands. A recent example was the Khemara v Phnom Penh Crown match where Tuy Vichheka booked 12 players and brandished 1 red card. At a real push I could agree with half of his decisions, and yet he failed to book the worst culprit on the pitch, Khemara's Zidougha Paris, who persistently committed fouls and received no more than a series of finger-waggings. We've had 20 matches in the C-League so far this season and 77 players have been shown the yellow card and 5 players a red card. The most dedicated of the card-waving referee's club are Thong Chankethya (21 yellows + 1 red), Yien Kivatanak (18 yellows + 2 reds) and Tuy Vichheka (14 yellows + 1 red). We've not managed to get through 1 game so far without a card being shown. I know it's a tough job, that knocking the referee is all too easy, blah, blah, blah, but seeing really is believing in this case and the matches as spectacles are suffering as a result.
It's all in the presentation. Nice that the ref's have black patches on their underarms to hide their sweat stains. Pic: nicksellsphotography

Thursday, April 29, 2010 on Cambodia's future

Keo Kosal, in the colours of Preah Khan Reach, where's he's responsible for youth development
This article on Keo Kosal, a member of the Preah Khan Reach squad and already looking to become a top coach in the future, is reproduced from The website and is penned by Tan Boon Piaw.

Keo dreams of bright future for Cambodia
He is relatively unknown in Asian football but, in Cambodia, the name of Keo Kosal raises great hopes for the future. The 24-year-old midfielder is pursuing his dream of taking the Cambodian national team to the last four stage of a major competition - preferably as a player but if that is not possible, even as a coach.

Cambodia's best international performance was fourth at the 1972 AFC Asian Cup when they were known as the Khmer Republic from 1970 to 1975. Now a lowly 171st in the FIFA World Rankings, they are among the weakest teams in the world and did not even attempt to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Keo, with his competitive attitude, may be the one to change his country's fortunes. He hates to lose. The pain is especially bad when the national team are eliminated from a tournament, whether it is a regional ASEAN Championship or the continent’s flagship competition AFC Asian Cup. "I am just 24 and still an active player for my club and country. I wish to break this jinx before I retire as a player," he told "If I am not able to make it, I hope I can carry on this mission when I become a coach in the future. Even if I don't become the national coach, I will still do my part to develop quality players for The Royals," said Keo, who is currently playing for the Royal Sword FC, also known as the Police Military team.

This is why Keo is among a select band of young coaches chosen for the AFC's Project Future programme, being part of the 2008 batch. Keo has represented Cambodia since 2004 when he was an 18-year-old. He is now the pillar of the team under the guidance of Australian Scott O’Donell, a former Director of the AFC Coach Education Department. An ex-Cambodian Army player, Keo led Khemara to the 2006 AFC President Cup semi-finals for the first time in Kuching, Malaysia. That grab-and-win feeling was so satisfying that it is etched firmly in Keo's mind. "No one likes to lose. I have experienced the sweet feeling of qualifying for the (AFC President Cup) semi-finals with Khemara before and I am very hungry for more success. The Cambodia national team deserves better and we have the ability to achieve something in the future," Keo said.

Keo certainly has big plans for Cambodian football. Although still primarily a player, he wants to learn as much as he can about coaching in order to serve his country beyond his playing days. "I must start young, the sooner the better. I know where I am heading and I need to get myself ready in advance," he said. "AFC's Project Future is a great long-term project and it will definitely help to kick-start my coaching career. I am honoured to be part of this project, which could be the platform for me to achieve something extraordinary in the coming years," said Keo, who is also studying for a Bachelor in General Management from the Phnom Penh Build Bright University. "In fact, I am also holding the role of youth development coach in my club. I think this job will help me understand more about what it needs to be a coach," he added.

Similar to AFC's 'The Future is Asia' motto, Keo believes that in Cambodia 'The Future is Youth'. He is dreaming to produce more players such as Hok "Jet" Sochetra - Cambodia's all-time greatest player who scored 42 goals in 64 internationals. Said Keo: "I strongly believe that the future of Cambodian football depends on the youth. I am involved in grassroots and youth development work in Royal Sword FC and there are many talented youngsters. I need to turn these youngsters into professional players. This kind of foundation work might take at least 10 years for fruition but I am willing to take up this challenge."

Keo is hoping to be O’Donell’s successor in the future. "Scott is a great coach who I admire very much. He teaches me so many things, from behaviour and discipline on and off the pitch, individual skills to tactics, fitness and detailed planning. I would like to become who he is after I hang up my boots. Even if I am not able to realise my dream of taking over the reins (of the national team), I will not give up on my country’s football. I will try my best to coach in Asia's top clubs, upgrade my knowledge and gain more experience. When I come back (to Cambodia) one day, I will surely teach and share with my colleagues what I have learned abroad. I believe this is the right way for Cambodian football to move forward," said Keo.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Army hit Wat Phnom for six

Joint top of the table with 10 points from 4 games, Ministry of National Defense
I forgot it was Visak Bochea Day today, a Buddhist holiday and therefore I had an afternoon off work, so I was able to get along to the midweek Metfone C-League match at Olympic Stadium afterall. Only 1 game today and it was a walk in the park for the Army team - Ministry of National Defense - who gave Wat Phnom a good hiding in the first half, took their foot off the gas a bit and ended up winning comfortably 6-0. It could've been 16-0 to be honest. And Army skipper Khim Borey, returning after injury, had one of those games where he wasn't going to score (again) in a month of Sunday's, despite opening the scoring with less than 2 minutes on the clock. It sounds a bit double-dutch but I'm sure you know what I mean. His goal had a touch of fortune when he hit it from 25 yards and instead of the keeper taking it easily into his midrift, he lost the flight of the ball and it arrowed into the net at the near post. Two minutes later Borey missed a sitter in front of goal and that was how the rest of his game panned out. Fortunately his teammates were on a scoring streak. Suong Virak netted twice in as many minutes - the Army had netted three times in the first 8 minutes - Phuong Soksana turned in a neat flick and Thong Oudom scored after the ball struck him in the face from an overhead clearance by a defender. 5-nil at the interval and all one-way traffic as the scoreline suggests. After the break the Army stopped doing the simple things that brought them their 1st half success, particularly down the flanks, and the game petered out into boredom and multiple substitutions. Late on, Soksana steered in another neat effort from a Borey cross to finish it at 6-0 and a job well done by the all-Khmer Army team that is bubbling with confidence at the start of this season and joint top of the table. On the bench today they had at least 7 players who would walk into most other teams including Samreth Seiha, Nov Soseila and Oum Kumpheak and on their current form they will give anyone a run for their money this season.
Wat Phnom felt the full force of the Army team on full manoeuvres
Back from injury, Khim Borey (7) leads out the Army line-up followed by keeper Sou Yaty (22)
Army striker Phuong Soksana scored two well-taken goals today and is improving with each game

Cut it out

Augustine Ogbni celebrates for BBU and he didn't even score the goal. Photo:
There seems to be a rash of evangelical prayer celebrations overtaking the foreign contingent of footballers in the C-League this season. It's become increasingly noticeable in the last few games. I much preferred the double somersaults or running to the corner flag for a bit of boxing practise, or even those god-awful dance routines, not to mention cradling the baby, but the arms aloft in thanks to a higher being just don't do it for me at all. I have a bad enough time controlling my anger whenever I see the whiter-than-white Mormons pedalling their crap around Phnom Penh, I really don't want to bring God into the equation at the football stadium as well. So a personal plea please, can we stop thanking Him for his bountiful wonderfulness of providing you with the means to tap the ball over the goal-line from a yard out and get back to those ridiculous goal celebrations that we all love to hate.

Press talk

My match reports from Sunday's C-League games appeared in yesterday's Phnom Penh Post. Read online. This afternoon in the only midweek game on the football calendar, the Ministry of Defense team face Wat Phnom at the Olympic Stadium at 3.30pm. The Army line-up may be missing keeper Samreth Seiha who damaged a thumb in training.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The moment(s) of truth

Cambodian referee Tuy Vichheka is someone I have a bee in my bonnet about. When he's not booking players on a whim and rattling up twelve or fourteen yellow cards in a match, with a couple of reds thrown in for good measure, he's making decisions that leave me speechless. One such decision, to disallow an Uche Prince Justine goal for Phnom Penh Crown on Saturday, that would've been in the running for goal of the season without a doubt, saw me demanding close analysis of replays of the incident on television pundit shows. There aren't any but you know what I mean. The Prince played two 1-2's with Oscar Mpoko to carve open the Khemara defence and powered home a finish in his typical bustling style. It was a superb goal but not in the eyes of Tuy Vichheka. He blew for a handball incident that only he saw and Nick Sells' excellent action shots posted here suggest that if a handball did occur, it was the arm of defender Sok Vannak that made contact with the ball. Typically, Vichheka then flashed the yellow card with his normal flourish, suggesting The Prince had sought to gain an illegal advantage. What poppycock. I will closely monitor the rest of the season where Tuy Vichheka is involved. This man needs to be watched.
Prince Justine (20) splits the Khemara defence with two 1-2's with Oscar Mpoko
The ball bounces up and onto the arm of Khemara defender Sok Vannak
The Prince brushes aside the challenge of Sok Vannak as he powers through
Prince Justine gets his shot away as he's challenged by Khemara's Kun Kuon
Goalkeeper Ly Sokheng is powerless to stop The Prince's goalbound effort
The Prince's ecstasy turns to acute disappointment as Tuy Vichheka disallows the goal and books the striker for deliberate handball
All photos courtesy of:

Sympathy time

Preah Khan's mister unlucky, Lay Raksmey
Lay Raksmey is a very unlucky young man. The national team and Preah Khan right-back is a dedicated professional, putting in extra training sessions and continually seeking to improve. On Sunday he was sent off for the second successive match for collecting two yellow cards in a game. I have a great deal of sympathy for Raksmey who has now been the victim of the needless yellow cards dished out willy-nilly by match referees in the Metfone C-League and it's youngsters like Raksmey who are suffering. The look on his face as he trudged off with his head and shoulders slumped, said it all. His dismissal was the only event of note in the 2nd half of the clash of the titans between Naga and Preah Khan, that fizzed and popped in the 1st period, but died in the second.
PKR started the stronger, tackling with intent in the middle of the park and not allowing the reigning champions to get into their stride. The game burst into life on 13 minutes when new PKR recruit Devide Njoku's deflected shot crept in at the far post. Within two minutes Naga were level when Chin Chom's early centre found Teab Vatanak in acres of space, and possibly offside by a good 5 yards, and he finished with ease. The goals were coming thick and fast and on fifteen minutes Preah Khan grabbed the lead again. Teenager Prak Mony Udom weaved his magic on the bye-line, leaving two players on their arse and picked out Anthony Nzekwest at the far post with a perfectly flighted cross, dispatched by the PKR newboy with a powerful header. As the game ebbed and flowed evenly between the two teams, it was Naga who struck next. On the half-hour, Chin Chom's free-kick was headed against the bar by Teab Vatanak and when Devide Njoku lashed at the rebound, Joseph Oyewole popped up with a deft header to direct it goalwards and into the net.
Preah Khan Reach line-up for the camera before their clash with Naga
Naga, resplendent in all black, played out a creditable 2-2 draw with Preah Khan

Taken to the cleaners

Kirivong line up before their 8-0 spanking of Chhma Khmao. 5-goal Julius Chukwumeka (7) is far right.
Julius Chukwumeka was a one-man demolition team for much of Sunday's Metfone C-League match between his team, Kirivong, and the Black Cats from Svay Rieng, Chhma Khmao. Both teams were pointless after three games but it was Kirivong who clicked into gear and gave their fellow provincial team a good spanking. Chhma Khmao were under the cosh from the start and the biggest surprise was that it took Kirivong 17 minutes to open the scoring. Chukwumeka combined well with Mich Sophasith to carve open the Black Cats before finishing with a simple tap-in. He was on the mark again, on 33 minutes, with a free header from a corner. Even I would've marked the guy who scores all the goals. 4 minutes later he registered a first-half hat-trick with a neat finish after Felix Ndukwe's long ball caused consternation in the Black Cats rearguard. Two more goals before half-time gave Kirivong a 5-nil unassailable lead. Felix Ndukwe collected the ball thirty yards out, and ended his mazy run with a low drive into the corner, before setting Mich Sophasith on a free run on goal and he finished coolly. After the break Chukwumeka added another 7 minutes in, letting fly with a left foot swinger which crept over the line courtesy of a goalkeeping howler. Twenty minutes from the end he rolled the ball into an empty net after another defensive balls-up for his fifth goal. Substitute In Vichheka joined the party, neatly lobbing the ball in after dancing around the penalty area for a few minutes. Chhma Khmao were a disorganised wreck in defense and Kirivong took them to the cleaners with considerable ease to record their 8-0 victory.
The Black Cats of Chhma Khmao before their thumping by Kirivong

Press talk

I made the back page of today's Phnom Penh Post with my match reports from Saturday's Metfone C-League matches. Read online.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Prince to the rescue

Sophal Udom chipped in with 2 goals for Khemara to put them ahead
You can forgive Khemara Keila for wanting to kick the cat after yesterday's Metfone C-League thriller at Olympic Stadium. They were just seconds away from recording a rare success over Phnom Penh Crown before Ouk Chheng Hort dallied and The Prince seized the opportunity to claim a point for the title favourites. Chheng Hort will have nightmares about his tardiness for weeks to come. For The Prince, as he rested on his knees with his arms outstretched in prayer, it was a sign of relief after a game where little went to plan for the league's top marksman. The first half belonged to Crown. Uche Prince Justine shinned a sitter over the bar from five yards out early on and then had the goal of the season ruled out on 13 minutes, and was booked for his troubles. The Prince combined with Oscar Mpoko to carve open the Khemara defence with not one but two 1-2's and finished clinically only for referee Tuy Vichheka to claim he saw a handball and cancel the goal. It was rough justice for The Prince as Nick Sells' photos show it was defender Sok Vannak who handled as he tried to fend off the bustling Crown striker.
The Khemara rearguard action finally crumbled on 32 minutes when Sun Sopanha's 30 yard free-kick was touched onto the crossbar, leaving Oscar Mpoko with a simple tap in. A few niggly tackles began the second half and sent the match referee Tuy Vichheka on what is fast becoming his normal course of action, card flashing. He totalled 12 yellow cards in this game and on 66 minutes sent off national team skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak with a straight red. Sokumpheak was seconds late as Sani Saidu cleared but the defender's piercing scream was enough to shatter windows and convince Vichheka of the need for action. Saidu got to his feet within seconds of seeing Sokumpheak take his lonely walk.
Perversely, the dismissal of their talismanic skipper galvanized Khemara. Within three minutes, Ek Vannak fed Sophal Udom and the striker's first touch took him around Crown keeper Peng Bunchhay and he rolled his shot into the empty net for the equalizer. Two minutes later and Khemara took the lead. Samut Dalin broke quickly down the right flank and his firmly-struck low cross-shot was touched in on the goal-line by Sophal Udom to surprise everyone, including the Khemara bench. Sensing victory over their much-fancied rivals, Khemara were undone when The Prince struck two minutes into time added on. For the neutrals, the game was a great advert for the C-league.
The Phnom Penh Crown team that salvaged an injury time point
The 10-men of Khemara nearly produced the shock result of the season so far
Khemara coach Solomon Demagudu with defender Peter Olajide at the post-match press interviews

Putsethy at the double

BBU skipper Prum Putsethy grabbed a brace against Prek Pra
The victorious BBU team, 4-1 winners against plucky Prek Pra
You've got to feel for Prek Pra Keila. They never gave up, showed bags of determination and with more composure in the final third of the pitch, they could've made a game of their match with Build Bright United, that kicked off the weekend's batch of games on Saturday. In the end they lost their 4th straight Metfone C-League match, this time going down 4-1 against a BBU side that started brightly and wrapped it up with a flurry of goals. BBU skipper Prum Putsethy was in the middle of most of his team's good work, recalled after getting dropped for the last game. He netted a header on two minutes but it was disallowed, and he then headed against the woodwork. His time would come. On 33 minutes full-back Chan Pech Chealy popped up at the far post to tap in a bobbling cross from Chan Veasna. Before the break Prek Pra's Wilson Mene fluffed two guilt-edged chances to level. His teammate Philip Ali did the same early in the 2nd half before BBU caught them out by a sucker punch on the hour. Prum Putsethy picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashed a thunderbolt that keeper Yok Ary got a hand to but couldn't keep out. Ten minutes later a neat one-two between Chhun Sothearath and Putsethy ended with the latter coolly lifting his shot into the top corner. Wilson Mene stumbled over a challenge from keeper Sos Proshim to earn Prek Pra a penalty, which Philip Ali converted but four minutes later Phin Pheara was on hand to sweep in BBU's well-deserved 4th. Another tough day at the office for Prek Pra.
Chan Pech Chealy opened the scoring for BBU against Prek Pra Keila
Prek Pra Keila have now lost all four C-League matches played to-dateThe CTN commentary table with two live monitors for viewing the action up close

Julius is the man

5-goal Kirivong hero Julius Chukwumeka
Sunday's Metfone C-League results below, reports to follow. Kirivong Sok Sen Chey gave bottom club Chhma Khmao a real thrashing, winning 8-0 with striker Julius Chukwumeka cashing in with five goals, including a first-half hat-trick. You could say the game was a little one-sided. In match 2 on Sunday afternoon, on another sweltering day, Naga and Preah Khan produced a first 45 minutes worthy of these two C-League heavyweights and went in all square at 2-2. They failed miserably in the 2nd half by comparison, with only the sending off of PKR full-back Lay Raksmey, for the 2nd time in two games, worthy of using my pen ink. More later when I've cooled down.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Headline grabber

Prince Justine can't believe referee Tuy Vichheka has disallowed his goal and then booked him - neither could I! Pic:
You can't keep him out of the headlines. Uche Prince Justine was fairly anonymous by his own standards for much of this afternoon's Metfone C-League match of the day as title favourites Phnom Penh Crown came up against a stubborn Khemara Keila and looked to be heading for a rare defeat. That is until The Prince reacted like lightning when Ouk Chheng Hort took too long to clear his lines and the league's top scorer took his tally to six in three games by whipping the ball past the Khemara keeper before he'd even realised. Khemara were crestfallen, having scored two goals in as many minutes through Sophal Udom midway through the 2nd half, despite having been reduced to ten men when Kuoch Sokumpheak was sent off for an out-of-character challenge a couple of minutes before. Oscar Mpoko had given Crown a deserved first-half lead but Khemara never gave up and will feel a little cheated at the final whistle. Referee Tuy Vichheka tried to make his mark on the game, as he normally does, flashing 12 yellow cards and the red for Sokumpheak. There was a touch of niggle in the game but 13 cards is way over the top, again. 2-2 the final scoreline. In the day's opening match, Build Bright took a while to dampen the high spirits of Prek Pra Keila before running out 4-1 winners with recalled skipper Prum Putsethy netting a brace. More from both games later.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baby-face is the key

2-goal baby-faced striker Heng Sokly faces the press for his ex-team Phuchung Neak last season
Yesterday's Metfone C-League match between the moneybags of Phnom Penh Crown and the newcomers from Prek Pra Keila didn't go according to plan. With a match-up against Khemara at the weekend, Crown chose a 2nd string strength line-up - at least 10 regulars were missing - and despite two goals from stand-in striker Heng Sokly in the first twelve minutes, they just about scraped a 2-1 win against the pointless newbies. Not the cricket score I predicted, but not anywhere near a full-strength Crown line-up either. Great to see Heng Sokly take his chance with two goals as the youngster caused quite a stir playing for relegated Phuchung Neak last season and deserved the step-up to one of the better teams. He'll have his work cut out getting a regular starting place in the Crown team ahead of The Prince, Chan Chhaya, Keo Sokngorn and others, so this won't do him any harm at all. I hate missing games but a dodgy stomach kept me in the office and near the loo. Probably too much infomation.
Youthful striker Heng Sokly in the colours of his new team, Phnom Penh Crown

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back in the groove

After a break for the Khmer New Year celebrations, the Metfone C-League kicks off again tomorrow, Wednesday at 3.30pm when the early season favourites, Phnom Penh Crown take on newboys and already twice-defeated Prek Pra Keila. As I said last week, judging by current form, we can expect a hatful of goals...from Crown. The pick of the 4 games this coming weekend are the fixtures that pair Khemara against Phnom Penh Crown (Saturday) and Preah Khan Reach against Naga, the latter being the tie of the week, on Sunday.
Wednesday Update: I can't make the game today as I've had severe stomach cramps all morning and caution is the key word, rather than spending a few hours at the Olympic Stadium with its less than rudimentary toilet facilities. Oh, and it looks like rain, which belted down for an hour yesterday lunchtime and flooded the whole city. I bumped into Prince Justine yesterday and he looks like he will be out of today's game with a thigh strain, which he felt go when scoring his unstoppable thunderbolt against Chhma Khmao a couple of weeks ago. It would be nice to hear that Prek Pra gave a good account of themselves but I fear a thumping is the most likely result, with Keo Sokngorn to net a hat-trick at least. This is the 15th game of the new C-League season and the first one that I've missed. Grrr.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foreign imports

Two of Phnom Penh Crown's best foreign imports last season, Akeeb TJ Ayoyinka (left) who is now with Loei City, and Oscar Mpoko who is still on the roster this season
I was wondering what happened to some of the foreign imports in the Cambodian football league last season and looked down the list to see which ones caught my eye in the last campaign and who are now missing from the team rosters. Clubs are allowed to sign five foreigners and play 3 in each game. Most of the foreigners we see in the Cambodia game come from African countries like Nigeria and Cameroon. The stand-out foreigner last season was Uche Prince Justine, who top scored in the league with the less-fancied team Spark FC and who has moved onto the most-monied team in the league, Phnom Penh Crown this time around. He's already leading the scoring charts again with 5 goals in 2 games and injury notwithstanding, will be right up there again this term. That's if he's not spirited away to join a Thai team or suchlike. I'm not convinced that staying in the C-League will be the best option for the teenager's future development. Talking of Phnom Penh Crown, their bustling forward Akeeb TJ Ayoyinka is now with Loei City, in the 2nd Division of the Thai League but I've no idea where his fellow strike partner from Cameroon, Mohamadou Ousmanou has gone. Preah Khan Reach recently sacked their top scorer last sesason, Nigerian striker Olisa Onyemerea, whilst Ekene Ikenwa also went walkabout in the close season. Hopping over the border to Thai Premier team TTM Samut Sakhon for the new season is Nigerian striker Sunday Okonkwo, who did a lot of damage with 17 goals for Naga Corp as they won the league title last year. Word is that Khemara's livewire midfield maestro David Adeyinka returned to Nigeria to get married and settle down. So far the new batch of foreign imports have failed to impress, though a few of them have yet to appear due to visa complications. It seems that the likes of Prince Justine, Joseph Oyewole, Sani Saidu, Friday Nwakuna and Oscar Mpoko will be the ones to shine again this season.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Press talk

Saturday's match reports appeared yesterday
My match reports from the weekend Metfone C-League games appeared in the Phnom Penh Post on Monday and Tuesday. Click here and here.
There will now be a week's break in the C-League for the Khmer New Year celebrations. The games will resume on Wednesday 21 April (3.30pm) when high-scoring Phnom Penh Crown take on struggling newboys Prek Pra Keila. I expect an avalanche. Come armed with a calculator.
Sunday's games appeared in today's PPP

Monday, April 12, 2010

A closer look

The man with the cards, Yien Kivatanak couldn't help but flash 6 yellows and 1 red on Sunday
Through the lens of happy snapper Nick Sells, here are some images from the weekend's games in the Metfone C-League. I've included some of referee Yien Kivatanak, who has a penchant for flashing cards left right and center in any game in which he appears. In four league games he's officiated so far this season, he's brandished 18 yellows and 2 reds. Alongwith fellow referee Thong Chankethya (he's issued 21 yellows and 1 red in 4 matches), they are on a mission to break all records for the most cards flashed in a season. I normally agree with about 20% of their decisions. Am I being too harsh?
Ref Kivatanak explains the early bath scenario to Wat Phnom's Henry Asonibe, or he's so tired from waving his arms in the air, that he simply doesn't have the energy to lift his left hand with the very heavy red card in it
A common sight in games involving referee Yien Kivatanak, as he issues a yellow card to Henry Asonibe
Its all concentration on the Naga Corp bench before the game begins with new coach Prak Sovannara at the far end
One of my bugbears is the stretcher-bearers and this player seems to be saying "leave me alone you idiots" - I couldn't agree more.
Goalkeepers receive way too much protection these days but can get away with murder, as this high foot by Chhma Khmao's Pen Socheat demonstrates
2- goal Teab Vatanak of Naga blocks the challenge of Cambodia's no 1, Samreth Seiha of the Army. All photos courtesy of

Top keepers

The top 2 in the C-League goalkeeper rankings, Sou Yaty (left) and Samreth Seiha. Photo: nicksellsphotography
The Army team are blessed with the two best goalkeepers in the Metfone C-League and both of them are the national team keepers as well. Samreth Seiha and Sou Yaty are at the top of the pile when it comes to shot-stopping, handling, bravery when the feet are flying and everything else it takes to be a top keeper. That they play for the same club side, the Ministry of National Defense, means that their coach Oup Sam Ann has decided to alternate them between the sticks. On Saturday it was Samreth Seiha's turn. Sou Yaty will take over the next time the Army take to the field. And it pretty much works out the same way for the Cambodian national team as well, with coach Scott O'Donell rating both players very highly. They also have youth very much on their side as well, Seiha is 20 later this month and Yaty is 21. Seiha got the nod for the Hun Sen Cup Final a few weeks ago and has been my favourite keeper since I began watching the Cambodian game a while back. Both him and Yaty would undoubtedly benefit from some specialized professional goalkeeping coaching. They are very good now but could become even better with words of wisdom and technical pointers from a specialist. Come the revolution, that will be the first item on the 'agenda for the future'.
Samreth Seiha rolls the ball out during Saturday's game. Photo: nicksellsphotography

Sunday, April 11, 2010

PKR pip it

Shorn of a few regulars, Preah Khan scraped a 1-0 win over Kirivong
This result could've gone either way with Preah Khan Reach coming up with the all-important winner five minutes after the break, though Kirivong Sok Sen Chey had enough chances after the goal to have earned a share of the spoils. They weren't quite up to it. It was pretty much PKR's first half with Khuon Laboravy, Kao Kiri and Tum Saray missing takeable chances and Ande Apollo flashing the best effort wide and high from six yards out. Kirivong had a solo headed effort against the bar from Julious Chukwumeka to show for their pains. Chea Samnang ghosted in at the far post, five minutes after the interval, to smash PKR into the lead though Kirivong replied with a Sen Kamsen header rebounding off the post a minute later. With the bit between their teeth, Kirivong went in search of the equaliser. They should've had a penalty when San Narith flattened Him Salam but the referee waved play on to everyone's disbelief. Chukwumeka had two more chances to level the game but failed and is yet to find his scoring boots this campaign. The same goes for Kirivong who went down to their third successive defeat.
Kirivong will kick themselves that they didn't pick up their first point of the season