Saturday, January 8, 2011

Away day with Crown

Crown skipper Thul Sothearith exchanges club pennants before the kick-off
This was my first match with Phnom Penh Crown in the provinces and though we won 4-0 against plucky Neak Khiev, the game being played at the provincial football stadium in Kompong Thom, I know we can do better. The starting time of 8am was a tricky one, deciding when to get up, eat and travel to the stadium (and that was just me), as I doubt many games, anywhere in the world, kick off that early in the morning. The pitch itself left a lot to be desired and the day before, Kouch Sokumpheak had strained his ankle on it, in warm-up. It wouldn't be the last ankle problem brought on by the uneven, grass-less surface either. The team changed on the steps of the main grandstand, no such luxuries as showers and well-equipped changing rooms in this location (or any for that matter) but they did benefit from the presence of Crown's medical team of club doctor Hok Sour and physio Chhin Sophorn, which is a luxury most teams cannot replicate. These are pictures taken before the kick-off to give you a flavour of the club's Hun Sen Cup journey this season.
The team huddle before the game begins, ended with a loud whoop
The Neak Khiev line-up with a couple of familiar faces from last term's Wat Phnom team
The Crown team create long shadows as they line up before the handshakes
Thul Sothearith leads out the Crown team in blue, following the match officials
Crown skipper Thul Sothearith is a study in deep concentration
Short sharp sprints for Hong Ratana (13) and Chan Dara (right)
Sun Sopanha and Hong Ratana (13) get in some pre-match heading practice
The pre-match team talk is given by Crown coach Bouy Dary
Physio Chhim Sophorn applying strapping to Kouch Sokumpheak's ankle strain, with Tieng Tiny looking on

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