Sunday, September 23, 2012

Obadin shocker

The PPCFC squad pictured before their departure Saturday morning - click to enlarge
The look of bewilderment on the face of Odion Obadin told a sad story as he said his goodbyes to his teammates, after being refused entry into China and sent back to Cambodia on the next available flight. Phnom Penh Crown were on their way to Tajikistan to represent Cambodia in the final stages of the AFC President's Cup and were flying to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe via the Chinese airports of Guangzhou and Urumqi. The team had met at 6am Saturday morning, ready for their flight out two hours later. The television cameras were present to see the team off with Tieng Tiny and Khim Borey giving interviews before the team boarded their flight with Southern China airlines. The surly and hostile airport police weren't exactly the welcoming committee they had expected at Guangzhou airport and then Odion was pulled out of the transit queue and ordered to sit and wait whilst officials investigated his paperwork. The rest of the squad waited to be reunited with their popular defender, only for Obadin to arrive an hour later, under guard of two airport officials who said he wasn't allowed into China without a visa, even though the player was merely transiting through and not actually staying in the country. There was no room for manoeuvre as Obadin collected his bag, said his goodbyes and was ushered away. At this time, the club is looking into getting Obadin to Tajikistan via another route. The deflated squad caught their next flight, a five and half hour trip to Urumqi, in northwestern China and then a 2.5 hour flight to Dushanbe, their final destination, arriving at 2am Cambodian time. A police escort took the team to its headquarters at the 5* Dushanbe Serena Hotel for some well-earned shut-eye, but the disappearance of Obadin has left a sour taste in the mouth ahead of the club's most important games of the season.
Captain Tieng Tiny meets the television media before departure

It's Khim Borey's turn to face the television cameras

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