Wednesday, May 25, 2011
A major success
Would you believe it... Cambodia's best female singing star, Meas Soksophea, came to watch the football today and I was so busy running around doing my media duties that I had no chance to say hello. I'm gutted. However, be that as it may, Phnom Penh Crown were pipped at the final post for the top spot in Group A of the AFC President's Cup, losing 1-0 to Neftchi, who topped the table with three wins from their three matches. It was a tough pill to swallow with the goal coming eleven minutes from the end of a game that looked destined for a draw, and honours even. Nevertheless, Neftchi were the bookies favourites for the whole competition and Crown have shown over their three games in the last five days, that there is little to choose between the teams. That will give them bags of confidence for the competition finals, which are likely to be held in September. The location has yet to be decided by the AFC, dependent on who qualified as one of the six finalists. The last two finals have been held in Tajikistan and in Myanmar, where the host teams both came out on top to lift the trophy, so home advantage certainly has a part to play. We await the AFC's deliberations with interest. The whole competition, which featured six matches staged at the Olympic Stadium, has been a major success by anyone's reckoning. The crowds have been very good, especially for Phnom Penh Crown's matches, obviously, the teams have given their all under testing weather conditions, the match officials all did a good job on and off the pitch, the entertainment provided on all three matchdays was a welcome addition to the event and the important result is that Crown achieved their pre-tournament aim, to qualify for the finals. Add to that the friendships and respect developed between the teams and officials and you have yourself a very successful tournament. This was the first international club competition of its kind ever staged in Cambodia and everyone connected to it should give themselves a pat on the back.