Saturday, June 4, 2011
Missing a trick
Under-13 national team are currently playing in the AFC U-13 Festival of Football SEAsia Region in Sabah, Malaysia. There are no Phnom Penh Crown players in the squad, even though Crown searched the whole country at the end of last year, holding trials with the local authorities in each area to find the absolute cream of the country's talented youngsters in that age range, in order to set up their Elite Academy, which began life a few months ago. No other club has ever undergone such a comprehensive search for the players of the future. Since the Academy began - it holds 22 boys in residential halls at the club's Tuol Kork training headquarters where they receive professional coaching each morning and attend private school in the afternoons - I've seen the team play on numerous occasions and its abundantly clear that they are revelling in their new surroundings, and playing a passing game of football that most senior teams would do well to emulate. So why aren't any of the boys included in the U-13 national team that is representing the country in Malaysia. That question of course should be answered by the coaches who selected the team that is in Malaysia right now. They decided not to pick any Crown players and the national team will suffer immeasurably as a consequence. Let's hope they do well but they are playing without the country's best talent. It seems to be a common thread weaving through the national team selection process at the moment, with the senior team also deciding to do without the services of some of the nation's high profile players. In the meantime, the Crown Academy won the recent ISF Boys championship and will be heading to Singapore later this month to join in the Singapore Soccer Sixes competition as well as crossing the border into Vietnam for a series of games in Saigon.