Friday, September 28, 2012

Theatre of truth

Crown coach David Booth (left) will be in the Central Stadium sunken dug-out for the last time tonight
Phnom Penh Crown face the host nation's favourite sons, FC Istiklol, tonight under floodlights at the Central Stadium, and with a big point to prove. An 8-goal thrashing against Dordoi two nights ago will have given the Crown players nightmares, and if it didn't, it should've. The performance of the team was below an acceptable standard at this level of competition. The clubs in the AFC President's Cup are champions of their respective countries for a reason, they are the cream of the emerging nations and if Cambodia wants to stand toe to toe with them, its players need to step up to the plate. Professionalism is not just a long word, it's a state of mind and attitude to the task in hand. If you don't adopt a professional mindset then you will fail, because every one of the other teams in this competition are treating it as if their lives depend on it. Dordoi came at Crown from the first whistle and we wilted, especially as the game wore on. Tonight, we will face a similar barrage from Istiklol, who will be roared on by a large partisan crowd. They need a point but they will be going for the jugular right from the off. The Crown players know it and they must deal with it. Coach David Booth has made changes to his line-up for what he has said, will be his final game in charge of the team. He will not want to bow out without a performance that is passionate, hard-working and honest. The players owe him that.

All of the AFC President's Cup matches are being played at the Dushanbe Central Stadium, the theatre of dreams for Tajik football since it was built in 1956 during the Soviet-era. While league matches are routinely held in other stadiums – Aviator, Polytechnic and Spartak – the big matches are reserved for the 20,000-seater Central Stadium. Such is the landmark’s aura that even during devastating civil war from 1992 until 1997 the stadium was used for football matches, providing moments of major respite to the sports-loving populace. Some of Tajikistan’s unforgettable football victories have taken place at the Central. Fans fondly remember the 4-0 defeat of neighbours Uzbekistan in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier in 1996. It was here the popular Central Asian Games, filled with pomp and pageantry, were held in 2003. And the Tajiks will not forget the goalless draw against Bahrain in FIFA World Cup 2006 qualifying action in 2004. The Central has undergone major renovation in recent years and continues to be the main address of Tajik sports.
The main stand and VIP area of the Central Stadium

The seats opposite the main stand at the Central Stadium

The electronic scoreboard at Central Stadium

Some of the Crown players in the renovated dressing rooms at Central Stadium


Anonymous said...

Latest result is Istikol 6:0 PPCFC.I don't know more about the coach but I know David Booth when he was at Laos National team and then Sisaket Fc.There, the result were in downtrend also.He is not a good coach I think.Bojan Hodak is good!!! PPCFC was in the final last year because the players were selected from Bojan and now he's been in good run of Kelatan.How do you think from the coach, Andy? From Seyla(PPCFC Fan)thanks

Anonymous said...

It's so shameful to bring these result back home. 8-0 and 6-0 should not happen at the moment.

Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Seyla,
Bojan inherited the Kelantan team as David Booth inherited the Crown team last year. They were both fortunate in that way. Last season David Booth quickly instilled a winning mentality in the Crown team but that was undone in Taiwan and the subsequent changes at the club. He's tried to recapture this same attitude with a different set of players and it hasn't worked; the results speak for themselves. Nevertheless, David has a record of success in Asia, including last season at Crown, where he presided over the most exciting time in the club's history. Lest we forget.