Monday, August 1, 2011
Owen in the spotlight
San Narith scored his first-ever hat-trick on Saturday against BBU and he was as pleased as punch. "That's my first time to score 3 goals in 1 match. I have scored some goals before but never three," admitted the 27-year-old modest midfield ace, after his cool head from the penalty spot, twice, and his hat-trick goal deep into injury time helped his side to a comprehensive 4-1 success. "I feel confident with penalty kicks. I took a few while I was with Khemara but Kouch Sokumpheak took most of them. Bojan suggested I take them this season and I was happy with that. On Saturday I stepped up to take them as I knew I could score." Confidence in his own ability is something that has taken Owen, as he's known by all, to the top of the game in Cambodia. Phnom Penh-born, he spent six years with the National Defense Ministry (aka Army), another 4 years with a rampant Khemara team and a season with Preah Khan Reach before joining Phnom Penh Crown prior to the current campaign. He gained a call-up to the Cambodian national team for the first time in 2006 and was a regular fixture in midfield or at full-back until controversially dropped by Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon for the trip to Maldives in March. "I've enjoyed this season at Crown under Bojan and now David but I had a problem with the national team coach. He told me I made too many mistakes and didn't select me again. I don't understand it." Of his nickname, Narith recalls: "my coach at the Army, Neang Saban called me Owen and the name stuck with my teammates," presumably in reverence to the goalscoring English forward Michael Owen around that time. Though it's hard to see the resemblance. Nevertheless, his hat-trick against BBU could change all that. Narith is no stranger to success having won a services title with the Army, the Cambodian League championship twice with Khemara in 2005 and 2006 and the Hun Sen Cup the following year. He's also tasted AFC President's Cup action with Khemara in 2007 as well as with Crown this season. A model of consistency, his favoured position is in the center of midfield but he's happy to play wherever the coach decides, and that includes striker after last weekend's goalscoring haul.