Phnom Penh Crown will formally announce their playing squad for the new Metfone C-League season very soon. We held a press conference at the end of January where we informed the media that we had secured the services of 13 new players. Since then we've signed another six players and we now have our quota of five foreign players for the upcoming season, that begins for us on Wednesday against Preah Khan. Names should be announced tomorrow. The players are training every day in the run up to Wednesday's opening game though four players are absent from the weekend sessions, as they'd been called for trials for the Cambodian U-22 squad. A new age-group competition, the AFC U-22 Asian Cup qualifiers, is due to be played from 23 Jun-3 July which just so happens to be smack bang in the middle of the C-League season. Utterly bonkers. The FFC have appointed Prak Somony as the coach of the team, seemingly ignoring the national coach Lee Tae-Hoon for the job - are they trying to tell him something? - and have called up players for squad trials already. Sok Pheng, Hong Pheng, Sok Sovan and Sos Suhana have been taken away from Crown's C-League preparation to take part, which is a pain in the butt for Crown coach David Booth. It's a repeat of the farce we endured when players were taken away from their teams for the disastrous Brunei U-21 tournament a couple of months ago. Crown refused to play ball then and if the FFC expect Crown to release players on demand for squad training and to miss two C-League games in June, they will need to think again.
Taking place at the same time as the Crown first-team were training at the RSN Stadium, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers ISF boys tournament was in full flow. With teams from Cambodia and Singapore, it was the Komar Rikreay team that won the final on penalties. They will be back again next Saturday, for the girls competition. Tomorrow morning (Sunday), the Crown Academy are in the Barclays Capital ISF U-14 Champions League semi-final against ISF Flying Tigers with a 9am kick-off. The Academy topped the league after ten matches with maximum points, 120 goals scored and zero conceded. If they win their semi-final, then the competition final will be next Sunday. On that day, the ISF will also hold a tournament for teams of deaf players, part of the great work that ISF undertake to encourage participation from youngsters across the spectrum.