Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A reality

Doing brisk business, the Crown souvenir booths at Olympic Stadium
With Wednesday's final two matches in the AFC President's Cup looming large, I'd better post a few more pictures from Monday at the Olympic Stadium, when both Phnom Penh Crown and Neftchi qualified for the cup's final round with a game each to spare. Not bad if you can manage it. Though I must admit the 90 minutes against Abahani were as nervy as hell, watching from the grandstand. The crowd was registered at just over 6,000, but I never believe official attendances, ever, and they included Crown's Academy youngsters and their friends, who gave the team great support. I watched the television coverage of the game later that night and it made me smile when the cameraman kept focusing on the Academy boys in their blue jerseys, blowing their horns, banging their home-made drums and waving the Crown flag. Even their house-mothers, who were keeping an eye on them, had forgotten their charges and were jumping up and down with everyone else. Whilst I realise that the 6,000+ fans are at the ground because its a big cup competition, we've advertised far and wide, etc, etc, one day I would like to hope that these scenes will be seen at Cambodian football grounds week in and week out, as they are at football grounds all over the world. Crown are seriously looking into playing their home games at their own ground in Tuol Kork next season and this is the way to go if we want to have a truly professional stab at raising the standard of football in the Kingdom. Each team to have their own ground, their own supporters and everything else that goes with it. That's the dream, now let's make it a reality.
Chan Chaya jumps high in heading practice with Kouch Sokumpheak
Pre-match warm-up sprints for Chaya and Sokumpheak
The Crown team take to the field against Abahani
The Crown players waiting for the handshakes to begin
The Abahani team from Bangladesh, who were beaten 1-nil by Crown
The team captains exchange club pennants before kick-off
The Crown subs bench with coaching staff in light blue tops
Crown coach Bojan Hodak at the post-match press conference
Part of the post-match entertainment at the Olympic Stadium

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