Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's talk Crown

Let's talk Phnom Penh Crown, especially as the club have already clinched the Metfone C-League Championship a week before the official end of the season. Their 1-0 success over Preah Khan Reach last Sunday gave them sufficient points to be able to celebrate last weekend as well as this coming weekend, when they will collect their trophy and medals after their final match, against 2nd-placed Naga Corp. Crown's prize money for retaining the C-League title, after winning it in 2010 as well, is $15,000 (or 60 million riels). They've gone through the season with just 1 defeat to-date, proving themselves as worthy champions this season, which was played on a strict league basis, without the made-for-tv Super 4 play-offs. Naga will get $11,500 for their 2nd place with Preah Khan Reach guaranteed third spot. Naga's Julius Oiboh has already claimed the top goalscorer award, and will get $500 for his 27-goal tally, unless he adds more on Sunday. Other awards to be presented, having been selected by the FFC, will be the Fair Play Team (presumably fewest bookings and red cards), Best Referee team (if Thong Chankethya wins it again, I'll eat my hat), Best Goalkeeper, for which Crown's Peng Bunchhay must be in with a great shout with his 11 clean sheets in 15 matches, Best Coach (I doubt David Booth's 8 wins in 8 games qualifies) and Best Player. The only coach to last the whole season and do well in terms of his finishing position is Naga's Prak Sovannara, so don't be suprised if he gets the coaching nod, whilst Kouch Sokumpheak, Sun Sopanha and Odion Obadin MUST all be in the running for Best Player as they've had outstanding seasons and outshone pretty much everyone else in the league. There's an argument to be made for Julius Oiboh but aside from his obvious goalscoring knack, he's merely repeated the feats of Prince Justine and Julius Ononiwu in the two preceding seasons.
The Kaohsiung National Stadium in Taiwan
For the Naga match on Sunday (3pm kick-off), Crown will be without their defensive kingpins of Thul Sothearith, Tieng Tiny and Sun Sovannrithy, all missing through suspension, as well Phoung Narong, who is half-way through his eight match ban. With these forced changes on the Crown backline, it will be up to youngsters like Sok Sovan and Soeng Vanthan to hold the fort against the Naga goal threat alongside the more experienced Obadin and Chan Dara. In the absence of Sothearith, Sun Sopanha will continue as Crown skipper, a role and responsibility he particularly relishes. Of course, there will be no rest for Crown despite the end of the league campaign. After Sunday's celebrations, it's back to the training ground as they prepare for their trip to Taiwan and the finals of the AFC President's Cup. They are guaranteed two matches, against Neftchi and Yadanarbon later this month, in their bid to qualify for the final of the competition. It's a tough ask but head coach David Booth is a very experienced campaigner and if anyone can work their magic, he can. Crown will be allowed to take a squad of 23 players (including just 2 foreign players) and 8 officials for the competition that will be held at Kaohsiung National Stadium, a 40,000 seat stadium built in 2009 for The World Games in Kaohsiung city, the second largest city in Taiwan and home to the Taiwanese football champions, Taiwan Power Company. As part of their preparation, Crown have pencilled in a tentative practice match against the Cambodian national team at the Cheng Meng national football center on Friday 9 September.

The Crown Academy boys have a match tomorrow morning against Kompong Tralach's U-15 team as they prepare for the Cambodian Youth Championships at u-15 level later this month. The FFC will hold the competition between 17-24 September and Crown's U-13 Academy youngsters will join in the competition, even though it's two years above their age level. This will be exactly a week after the International Youth Tournament that Crown are hosting on 10 and 11 September at their Tuol Kork training headquarters, to be known as the RSN Stadium. A press conference will take place this coming Monday to provide the full details, but six teams will compete for the first-ever First State Gold Investment Cup at u-13 level, with teams from Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam taking part. The competition will be 7-a-side and the finals on the Sunday will be televised live. It promises to be a very special event.


Andy Brouwer said...

This morning the PPCFC U-13 Academy team beat the Kompong Tralach U-15's 11-1 at Tuol Kork. Goals by Chhuot Senteang 4, Mat Sakrovy 2, Ken Chansopheak 2, and 1 each for Theang Chhaya, Men Piphop and Yeu Muslim. These boys mean business!

Anonymous said...

Great job, in deed.

Andy, may I ask you when is the schedule for PPC to play in Taiwan. How many percent do you think PPC will go through to the next round? Simply put, will PPC get the honor back to Cambodia?

Andy Brouwer said...

PPCFC will play in Taiwan on 19th and 21st September. If we progress to the Final of the competition, that will take place on 25th.
Simply put...the standard of the finals of the AFC President's Cup are higher than any competition PPCFC have ever played in before. We are going there to win the competition, we have got this far, so we are determined to put up our best possible performances. But we have to be realistic and understand that our opponents will want to do the same. So it's going to be a battle to progress and win the Cup. But we will do our utmost.