Khim Borey, joined Thai Premier League team Sisaket Muangthai on a one year loan deal. It's a plum move for the 21 year old, who was ecstatic when I spoke to him on Sunday night, just before he made the road trip to Sisaket, in northeast Thailand, to sign on the dotted line. He confided that he'd always hankered after a move abroad to play his football and this opportunity to play in the Thai Premier League was a "dream come true." It was only three months ago that Borey joined Crown after spending 4 years with the Army team and because of the ridiculous ban on ex-Army players in the Hun Sen Cup, he's not actually played for Crown in a competitive match, only appearing in a few friendly matches. Sisaket’s English coach David Booth, who was coaching Laos at the time, was impressed by Borey at the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers played in Vientiane last October before swooping to bring him in ahead of the new Thai Premier League season which kicks off on 19 February, alongwith other new faces from Brazil, Japan and Ghana.
Phnom Penh Crown coach Bojan Hodak gave his blessing to the loan deal. “It’s disappointing to lose a player of Khim Borey’s quality, as he's one of our best players but it’s a fantastic opportunity for him to play abroad and to improve technically and we wouldn’t stand in his way at this point in his career.” The loan arrangement between the two clubs will last until the end of October this year, so not quite a year but enough time for Borey to get a taste for the step up in standard, the vastly increased salary he'll receive and the opportunity to pit his wits against better players. He leaves behind a pretty impressive CV in his time in Cambodia. He was the Cambodian League’s Golden Boot winner when he top scored with 18 goals in 2008 as his team finished in 2nd spot in the CPLeague, and he captained the Army team to a Hun Sen Cup Final success last season, against Phnom Penh Crown. On the international scene, Borey made his debut for his country against Syria in the Nehru Cup in 2007, having progressed rapidly in that same year from the national youth team through the Under-23 side to full international. In 2008 he scored five goals in eleven appearances for his country and then registered an international hat-trick against Timor Leste in those 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers held in Laos. Born in the village of Kouk Kanhchab in Takeo Province in southern Cambodia, he first came to prominence playing for the Koh Kong provincial team as a sixteen year old, before joining the National Defense Ministry club in 2006. He’d played for the Army boy’s team a couple of years earlier and conveniently lived next door to the Army headquarters in Phnom Penh. Operating primarily as a striker throughout his career, he missed five months of the 2009 season with a persistent ankle injury and last year was regularly used in a deep-lying midfield role by his club side.
He joins a growing list of Cambodian players now operating in Thailand but his move into the showcase Thai Premier League will really give a Khmer player the first chance to shine at the highest level in that country. Others to have made the move recently are his national teammate Keo Sokngorn (Samut Sakhon), Chan Rithy (Surin), Ly Ravy (North Bangkok) and Srey Veasna (Loei City). As the new Thai season begins in a couple of weeks it's unlikely that Borey will be allowed to join the Cambodian national team for the forthcoming games against Macau, but we shall see. In his absence, his Phnom Penh Crown colleagues will meet Prek Pra Keila in a friendly match at the club's Tuol Kork training ground ground on Saturday 5 February at 3pm.