Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting in shape

David Booth addressing his Crown players at Olympic Stadium today
  The four competing clubs in the upcoming AFC President's Cup Group Stage qualifying matches, starting this weekend, are allowed one training session on the Olympic Stadium pitch, where five of the half dozen matches will be played. This afternoon, it was the turn of Phnom Penh Crown. With only half of the pitch available as they were cutting and sweeping up the grass cuttings in the other half - not what I would call good timing by our own Federation - David Booth put his players through their paces with two-touch games, sprinting and shooting for the one hour session they were allowed. The rain held off thankfully though it was pretty windy throughout. Amongst the goalkeepers working out was a face from the recent past, that of Cambodia's former number 1 stopper, Samreth Seiha, previously with the Army, who turned his back on the game a couple of years ago when he was the country's best. Now he is back from his sabbatical and we'll have to see what transpires. The Crown squad will retire to their hotel, the Diamond, this evening as the players remain together for the duration of the tournament. They will have two training sessions tomorrow at 7am and 4pm at their own Tuol Kork pitch. The other three teams will have their Olympic session tomorrow, as well as sessions at Tuol Kork, the National Football Centre and the Mekong field over the course of the next six days. First thing tomorrow is the Team Manager's Meeting, at 9.30am at Phnom Penh Hotel. This is where the club's register their final 23-man squads - with only 2 foreign players eligible for each squad - as well as confirming playing kit colours and other match-related items with the AFC suits. After that there will be a Press Conference with all four teams answering questions from the assembled media ahead of the big kick-off on Saturday afternoon.
David Booth making sure his players understand what lies ahead

Skipper Kouch Sokumpheak addressing his teammates

Time for another quick group chat

Samreth Seiha getting back in the goalkeeping groove

Kouch Sokumpheak central, flanked by his teammates

Sos Suhana, Yok Ary, Chan Chaya and Tieng Tiny in view

Tony Obadin sees the funny side with Chhun Sovanna, Ngoy Srin and Kingsley Njoku alongside him

The AFC official football - each teams gets 15 balls to practice with

The grass sweepers on the Olympic pitch prevented Crown using the whole surface

A large billboard poster outside Olympic Stadium

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