Saturday, August 25, 2012


Thong Chankethya - can't help himself
Seriously, what was the point of referee Thong Chankethya's red card for Odion Obadin this afternoon, four minutes before the half-time interval. Completely brainless. For reasons known only to himself he loves to act as the judge and jury and couldn't wait to wield his authority and enjoy a red card moment against a foreign player in Phnom Penh Crown colours. He disregarded that this was a practice match, scheduled to give both Crown and the Cambodian national team some warm-up game-time before both teams head off for important Asian cup competitions. Instead of asking the Crown coach David Booth to replace the player to allow the two teams to maintain 11-a-side, he threw commonsense out of the window and flourished his yellow and red cards in quick succession, reducing the game as a spectacle for the good-sized crowd. Despite the fact that the Cambodia team scored a goal five minutes into the second half, they then failed miserably to put Crown to the sword despite the extra advantage and will not have impressed any of the audience in the grandstand. The referee had earlier cautioned two of Crown's foreign contingent, Kingsley Njoku for complaining, after just seven minutes and Obadin for pulling an opponent after 18 minutes. He has a history of  flashing his cards, which I've commented on many times before, and his interpretation of Obadin's second challenge, a high foot on Tum Saray, was extremely harsh. As if to compound his handling of the game, he over-ruled his assistant referee when Khieu Vibol's free-kick skidded under the dive of Crown keeper Samrith Seiha, just after the break. The assistant had spotted two Cambodian shirts, Om Thavrak and Khim Borey, in the line of sight and in offside positions and flagged to inform the referee. Instead Chankethya decided to allow the goal as neither player had touched the ball, ignoring the fact that the goalkeeper's sight was obscured. This went down like a lead balloon with Seiha, who stormed off the pitch after remonstrating with the referee, quickly followed by his teammates. It took another five minutes for order to be restored with the referee announcing his assistant had made a mistake and Crown coach David Booth ordered his payers to resume the game. Two controversial incidents with Thong Chankethya firmly smack bang in the middle, as usual.

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