Monday, April 11, 2011

The PKR bubble

The Preah Khan line-up against Chhlam Samuth on Sunday, with Khuon Laboravy wearing the captain's armband
Preah Khan Reach have now drawn their opening two C-League league games, against Phnom Penh Crown last week and then in Sunday's match against the Sea Sharks of Chhlam Samuth. The 2nd result was more surprising than the first. PKR are concentrating on homegrown players this season, adding to to their older contingent with fresh faces from the club's youth team and whilst their success in winning the Hun Sen Cup gave the club a major boost, it was their first silverware for years, it begs the question, did they peak too soon. The draw against Crown was somewhat fortunate but yesterday they barely looked on a par with the former Navy team, who lost their coach on the eve of the new season and have a team thrown together at the last minute, when Khemara's place in the top flight became available through hastily-arranged play-offs. Coach Rith Dikar will no doubt bemoan the loss of key players in recent games. Sam El Nasa has been sick, Prak Mony Udom has an ankle knock, Lay Raksmey went off early yesterday after missing the 1st game of the new campaign, and Ouk Mic was rested after playing non-stop for months. In fact their good form has worked against them, with all of those players regularly involved with the national team as well, which has generated more games and lots of hard training sessions. The only player that stands head and shoulders above anyone else is Khuon Laboravy and his majestic goal yesterday, weaving his way around four defenders before slotting the ball home, was easily the highlight of the match. When Laboravy is on top form, he can be unstoppable. Unfortunately for PKR, he's been involved with the national team as well, so he's as tired as the rest of them. They also came up against a team, buoyant after winning their 1st game against BBU and aided by the know-how of experienced pro Pov Samnang and two energetic foreign imports with a point to prove, Dauda Sanni and Olabode Abosede. The Sea Sharks have begun the season well and meet Rithysen in their next game though that's followed by a clash with champions Phnom Penh Crown, which will be a real tough test of their credentials. The two teams met earlier in the Hun Sen Cup with Crown running out easy 5-1 winners.
Chhlam Samuth have been a revelation in their 1st two matches of the new season

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