Thursday, September 22, 2011


The two men making the headlines, keeper Peng Bunchhay and goalscorer Kingsley Njoku
At his post-match press conference last night, Phnom Penh Crown coach David Booth was asked about two of his players, double goalscorer Kingsley Njoku and goal-stopper, keeper Peng Bunchhay. The head coach didn't pull his punches. "Six weeks ago, he [Kingsley Njoku] wasn't really sure of a place. He wasn't performing like this in the league and then suddenly in the last three games of the season, he stepped up a gear, scored goals, looked sharper and that got him into the team. There was a chance he wasn't going to come at one point. He's very strong, he's full of confidence now and it shows. He's holding the ball up and we have speedy players to play off him." Njoku has netted three times in the two matches Crown have won in this latter stage to reach Sunday's final. He also missed the opportunity of adding to his tally when he fired an 8th minute penalty against the foot of the upright. The Nigerian hitman, who scored 10 goals in the Metfone C-League campaign that's just finished, scored a single goal in the qualifying stage which puts him on 4 goals going into the final game. Ahead of him on five goals are Yadanarbon's Yan Paing and Istiklol's Farkhod Tokhirov. As for his number one goalkeeper, Peng Bunchhay, Booth was full of praise. "Chhay is a good keeper. He's been very good since I've been here. Actually, he's been terrific. He works hard in training and he's made a few good saves to keep us in the game tonight. He's also quite brave, coming out with his hands and his head not his feet." It's a mystery to most regular watchers of the Cambodian League as to why Bunchhay has not been called up into the national team squad, despite a string of impressive performances for his club and his league championship medal.

David Booth's other comments at the press conference included; "We are the underdogs at this level and we've just set about trying to improve game by game. We are improving every week. We missed a lot of chances against Neftchi but tonight some of those chances went in. We still missed a penalty, we still missed a very easy header and by half-time it could've been over and done with. The second-half was always going to be difficult because our players probably have never been 3-0 up at half-time before and the biggest problem we had was trying to keep them cool, calm and collected. We started to get a little bit scrappy but we kept a clean sheet, which is very important... We always felt we could win but we didn't want to say so. I thought we started the game in terrific fashion. The players worked very hard, they tried to do everything I asked of them, they're getting back behind the ball when we need to and they break very fast. We've got good speed, which scares people. Now we're in the final, we need to win it."

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