Monday, October 17, 2011

Booth on the President's Cup

Crown head coach David Booth with his players in Taiwan
Before the news came out today that David Booth will stay with Phnom Penh Crown for another twelve months, following the extension of his contract with the club, I asked David for his views on the AFC President's Cup experience where Crown beat two of the fancied clubs, namely Neftchi (2-1) and Yadanarbon (4-0) before finally succumbing to hosts Taiwan Power Company (3-2) in a somewhat controversial Final. This is what Crown's head coach had to say:
"I was generally pleased with our preparation for the final stages though the rains hampered it a bit. Over time the players improved and showed they were hungry enough for the task ahead. Our preparation in Taiwan was okay until someone decided to be stupid and play mind games the day before the Final. For the opening game against Neftchi, our players were well prepared and it showed in their performance. It was the right result, we played very well in getting behind them on so many occasions as we'd planned; we did our job well and deserved to win. The success bred enthusiasm amongst the players as it was their first win against foreign opponents on foreign soil. For the second game against Yadanarbon, I was quietly surprised and pleased with our performance, we fully deserved our success and it was a very good team effort.

"For the Final, I wasn't happy at all with the preparation, the mind games we experienced were disgraceful and petty, but we just got on with our work. In the game itself, it was the first time we made mistakes and this has to be a future lesson towards gaining consistency. Maybe it was the pressure, as it was new experience for our players, but it shows that if you make mistakes at crucial times, you lose matches. The referee was afraid to make a correct decision at a crucial time and ducked a decision at a point when we had our opponents under severe pressure. As for what happened afterwards, our players should know better and it was a lack of discipline at the wrong time, after all of our good work in the competition beforehand. On the positive side, I was pleased for the players, many of whom were playing at this level of competition for the first time, and I hope it can happen again."

The Crown squad are now taking a well-earned rest until stamina training begins again in mid-November and a full pre-season training programme gets underway at the beginning of December. The Hun Sen Cup is expected to begin in the first week of the New Year with the group stage and that will be the next target for head coach David Booth and his players. In the meantime, it looks like Crown's Sok Sovan and Sok Pheng will have to forget any thoughts of a rest as they were both included in the recent BIDC Cup matches in Phnom Penh and are expected to go with the Cambodian national team to the SEA Games in Indonesia in November.

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