Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Parting shot

A training session under floodlights at the Fengshan stadium tonight
The Phnom Penh Crown squad of players were able to relax for much of today after yesterday's tough opening game. Besides a mid-day team meeting and breakfast and lunch, the players did their own thing until a 6pm departure for training under floodlights at the Fengshan stadium, where the host team Taiwan Power Company usually play their matches, in an 18,000 capacity arena. Stretching, passing and a bit of fitness work for 45 minutes was enough for David Booth and his team, with some more stretches scheduled for tomorrow morning and then relaxing before the evening kick-off here in Kaohsiung at 7pm tomorrow, against the reigning cup holders Yadanarbon from Myanmar. Obviously, it doesn't take a genius to work out that this game is crucial to Crown's hopes to make the final of the AFC President's Cup. Yadanarbon have been kicking their heels in the Garden Villa Hotel for five days by the time they walk onto the pitch tomorrow night and a lot will depend on how they react to the task in hand. Crown have an advantage as they've played already, and have a win under their belts, though the Burmese were watching the game against Neftchi very closely, so they have an advantage in seeing Crown in action. The teams have never met before, though David Booth has coached the Myanmar national team, that contained five of the Yadanarbon team, so he has knowledge, and respect, for how well Burmese teams can play. They won the cup in their own backyard last season, defeating the experienced Dordoi in extra time 1-0, though they face Crown without their leading goalscorer Yan Paing, who is suspended. It's impossible to call this one, though Crown have the bit between their teeth after the Neftchi success and will give it their all for 90 minutes.
A mid-day team meeting in the head coach's hotel bedroom
Crown coach David Booth at yesterday's after-match press conference
Final words from Crown coach David Booth after yesterday's 2-1 win over Neftchi
The rain coming down heavily for the Taiwan Power v Istiklol game yesterday evening

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