Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Pipe-dream for Crown
The word on the street was that an invitation for Cambodia's league champions to play in the AFC Cup next season was on the table, which would've catapulted Cambodia into the next sphere of Asian continental football. Instead, the invitation remained unopened by the Cambodian football federation and because of their lethargy, Myanmar have picked up the baton and look likely to get the nod for 2012. How short-sighted of the FFC. That means Phnom Penh Crown will again take part in the AFC President's Cup, the competition for twelve league champions from countries regarded by the AFC's Vision Asia program as Emerging Nations. This does not take into account the FIFA World Ranking but has everything to do with a country's football competitiveness, professionalism, marketability and the financial status of the league and its clubs. The AFC President's Cup is the third tier of cup competition, the AFC Cup is the second tier lying under the AFC Champions League, which is for Mature Nations and competed for by the top 14 countries in the AFC region. The moniker for the AFC Cup is for Developing Nations, and though the competition has been dominated by west Asian countries since its formation, it certainly includes countries and teams, 32 in all, that would've been exciting to be involved with. The southeast Asian countries include Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Maldives, whilst the west Asian countries are India, Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Yemen and Uzbekistan. Myanmar look set to join in that party. In their place, Mongolia have put their hand up to join the AFC President's Cup, with group games tentatively scheduled for the first two weeks of May 2012. The country champions will come from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia, if accepted. So for the time being, playing in the AFC Cup will remain a pipe-dream for Phnom Penh Crown.