One of Cambodia's popular daily English language newspapers, The Daily, took a rare foray into Cambodian football on its new sports pages, with a feature on the Metfone C-League in today's edition and included a quote from myself in the article.
Defending Football Champions Defeated in Season Opener - by Claire Luke
Phnom Penh Crown FC, defending champions of Cambodia's football league, ended its first match in this year's league championship on a low point yesterday, losing 3-0 to Preah Khan Reach, a team started by and affiliated with the military police.
"It's still early on in the championship season, but it's disappointing, because as reigning league champions, we expected to do better," said Andy Brouwer, press officer for the defeated team.
The team, owned by businessman Rithy Samnang, only lost one match last year, and has won the league title for the past two years.
The league is comprised of the country's top 10 teams, which will play two rounds of nine matches each, capped off with a showdown between the top four teams to determine the winner, Football Federation of Cambodia spokesman May Tola said.
The country's only professional football league, which is run by the FFC, began in 2004 and was renamed the Metfone Cambodian League three years ago after its main sponsor.
Mr Brouwer took issue with the FFC for its match fixtures, which lacked the random selection that should be present when countries choose league championship schedules. "The fixtures are supposed to be random, but not in Cambodia. The league tried to make it interesting by putting the two strongest teams at the beginning and end," Mr Brouwer said.
But Mr Tola said there is no such rule."FFC is a member of FIFA. We follow all of the rules for competition, but randomness is not a rule," Mr Tola said. "We try to make it so each team has equal playing time in the rotation."
FFC General-Secretary Sophana Kul said the championship schedule is made by the chief of the competition department Yean Chheang, who could not be reached for comment.
Mr Brouwer said the other top teams this year will likely be NagaCorp, which finished second last year, and Boeung Ket Rubber Field, named after a major rubber plantation.
Matches will occur every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday at Olympic Stadium throughout the season, which ends in August.
Note: A photo accompanying the article, provided by the FFC, purported to be from the PPCFC v PKR match. In fact it was from the Army v Kirivong game. Another example of the FFC's diligence.