Thursday, September 8, 2011

Before kick-off

PPCFC coach David Booth jokes with his players before kick-off. He wasn't joking at half-time.
I have a few more photos from Sunday's action-packed afternoon including these pictures that were all taken prior to kick-off, both inside and outside the Phnom Penh Crown dressing room. For those who know no better, the dressing rooms at the Olympic Stadium might seem satisfactory but to be honest, they are appalling. Sunday morning park teams in the UK have better changing facilities than those at the Olympic Stadium. There are no showers, the fans are totally ineffectual and the rooms are like an oven, there are plastic chairs instead of benches, there is nowhere to hang your clothes, a crowd of faces look in through the windows as the players change, and so on, the list is endless. The 4th official, who should be checking for correct boots and kit, comes into the room to check each player has a jersey and that's it. Two teams who played the day before both had the same colour socks on, which is against the rules. There is a long road to travel before football in Cambodia reaches even the most basic level of professionalism you find in a country like the UK. I know it's comparing apples and pears but we must strive to improve or continue to remain in the international football wilderness. Even Phnom Penh Crown have much to do to improve. Take for example the playing kit. Up until now, each player takes home their own kit to wash and bring to the next game. I couldn't believe that when I first heard it. The players were also given the task of sewing on the CPL and Fair Play badges onto their sleeves, which resulted in all kinds of weird and wonderful badge locations. These are basic elements which we must change if we want to improve. If you think this is nitpicking, think again. Being professional in everything you do, starts with the smallest details.
"Now listen and listen good" just before the team leave the dressing room
Assistant coach Prak Vanny warms up his three Crown goalkeepers
Kouch Sokumpheak honing his sprinting skills before kick-off
Crown line-up with their same number Academy boys before the start
The players wait for the start and listen to the speeches
Skipper Sun Sopanha (right) asks the referee, "how much longer?"
The Crown team just prior to the handshakes and team photos
Final words of encouragement from head coach David Booth (white)

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