Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Young man's game

Kim Chanbunrith of Naga Corp, still going strong at 31 years of age
I'm intrigued to find just two players over 30 years of age playing in this season's Metfone C-League competition. That's simply an amazing statistic, considering the age that some players now go on until in the Barclays Premier League for example. Yet whatever they put in the water in Cambodia, few players carry on at the top level past their mid to late 20s. The two 'old-timers' currently in the C-League both play for Naga Corp, the runaway league leaders. Maybe that says something for having experienced heads in your squad. They are Kim Chanbunrith, the former national team captain and utility player, and centre-half Neang Chenla. Both of them are 31 years old. The only other player who will be 30 later this year and currently playing is Srey Veasna, the Phnom Penh Crown striker. And that's it as far as I'm aware, out of the ten teams and 276 registered players, just 2 are over 30 years of age - a staggering fact.
Naga's other 31 year old, centre-half Neang Chenla


Anonymous said...

It's surely because they don't earn much money playing football. A 28 year old would be so much better off running a good family business than playing in the C League.
Comparing it the EPL, of course they'll play until they're 38 years old, because they'll still be pocketing 20,000 quid a week playing for Portsmouth or something. Thoughts?


Andy Brouwer said...

yes Chris that's the argument I had with myself but not everyone is in a position to run a business or make a lot of money at business. Sometimes football is all that they know.
It just seems odd that very few Khmer players are still playing at the highest level they can once they reach their late 20s or early 30s. I do wonder whether its unique to Cambodia or it happens in other Asian countries as well.
There's also the enjoyment factor as well. I played football well into my 40s and did so because I loved the game. Maybe there's a veteran's league in Cambodia that I know nothing about and there are hordes of 30 and 40 year olds running around, having fun.
Cheers, Andy

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that not every player is in the fortunate situation to be able to enter a business, but if they retire from football at age 33, then have nothing to go onto, it's probably not the most clever idea.
I know during pre-season there was a bunch of older ex-national league players (I think they're called PRK vetrans) playing some games around PRK trianing pitch and National Stadium against other Vetran teams... they (PKR vetrans) would probably beat most C-League clubs IMO. So they are still around the clubs, and still fairly fit.

Andy Brouwer said...

Cambodian football is more semi-professional than full-time professional at the moment, simply because the wages aren't high enough for most players. So I'm sure most players either have their hand into other jobs already or could switch once their playing days are over.
The PKR veterans team still plays regularly, as I know a few of them. Occasionally they even give Scott O'Donell a game! But I'm not sure if they are the only veterans team doing the rounds here. I must ask them.

GADAFFI said...

Hi Andy, I think Meas channa of Naga is also in his 30s. There could be a few others too if you check well. I really dont think most of the Khmer players are as young as they claim but going by the football age most of them declare its certainly going to be much difficult for the khmer players to play professionally beyond 30.

Andy Brouwer said...

Meas Channa is 27 according to the information I can unearth. I have checked a few sources for this. There are always some doubts regarding the ages of Khmer players but my info comes from the football federation, so its as good as I can get (unless I check their passports or family books myself).
Andy :-)