Phnom Penh Crown's final training session before the AFC President's Cup Final, which takes place at 7pm tomorrow night. We had delayed our session so that head coach David Booth and team captain Thul Sothearith could attend the pre-Final press conference. We put ourselves out for the AFC. After it finished, we headed to the Fengshan Stadium, some 40 minutes driving-time from the hotel, for our 90 minutes training session. It never took place. On the pitch when we arrived was a girl's match and they refused to budge. Frantic phone calls to the AFC and the local organizing committee produced no successful outcome, so the Crown squad were forced to train on the rubber athletic track surrounding the pitch. This made it impossible for David Booth and his players, especially his goalkeepers, to do anything other than stretches, running and passing. The day before the most important game in Crown's history and we are seriously disadvantaged by the local committee, who later called and said they'd made a mistake and sent us to the wrong location. My arse. We play against the host team, Taipower tomorrow and any advantage they can get, they will take . What a coincidence that we are sent to a training facility where we cannot train adequately. The suits at the AFC have to seriously look into this fiasco or they will be tainted by the stench that is coming out of this very smelly situation.
But that's not all. At the team manager's meeting just after noon, rules and regulations are read out, everyone nods and it's sorted. Not on this occasion. Phnom Penh Crown have been drawn as the home team for the final. That effectively gives them first dibs on team colours, dressing room, etc. However, Taipower wanted to wear their second playing kit as they'd won their last game wearing it. The jersey is red, the same colour as Crown's. We stuck to our guns and said we will play in our first-choice kit. The AFC suits suggested Taipower wear their second strip and change their shorts, but the hosts complained that it would look "ugly." Then to our amazement, the AFC agreed to Taipower's request and rode roughshod over their own gentleman's understanding, making Crown change their complete playing strip and also the goalkeeper's colours as well. So much for being drawn at home. The hosts got exactly what they wanted and the AFC caved into their demands. I'm still scratching my head over how this was allowed to happen by the AFC suits.