Saturday, July 2, 2011

First impressions

David Booth addressing his new charges at his first training session
Phnom Penh Crown's new head coach David Booth met most of his playing squad this afternoon at their first training session for a week and the first one with the new man at the helm. The players have had a week off since their last C-League victory over the National Police, though for some it meant more football than ever. Many of the squad have taken part in National Championships for educational institutions, which for someone like Thul Sothearith, the Crown captain, has meant 4 games in 7 days for Norton University, whilst others have been involved in playing and training with the national team. A mid-season break for the players has been anything but. The idea of playing for their university side, in return for which they get free education, rankles big-time with me and is something that I'm keen to see stamped out. Playing so many games in a short period in a mickey-mouse competition when you are a contracted professional is simply ridiculous. In talking to David after the training session it's something he's had to cope with in previous jobs and which is all part and parcel of working in Asia. As for today's first session, the players warmed up with some ball work, sprints and then a two-touch game for an hour after a few words from David to introduce himself. You could hear the words, "passing, moving, supporting," clearly ringing out in both English and Khmer. Chan Dara was one player not joining in as he was nursing an injury, picked up playing for his university side. I rest my case. The real work will start on Monday and Tuesday, when the national players return and David can get his whole squad together to prepare for next Saturday's game against Rithysen.
Assessing the sprinting power of his players
"This is who I am and this is what I expect from you"
Odion Obadin volleys the ball back to his teammate
"Do you want to be a passing team or a running team?" The answer was passing.
David prepares his squad for the match practice
A final few words from the new coach before the session draws to a close
Warming down session as the storm clouds approachDavid gets up close and personal with his squad

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