Monday, October 8, 2012

Top table

Sam Schweingruber at today's press conference. Photo by 855 Media Group
The opening statement from Phnom Penh Crown's newly-appointed head coach, Sam Schweingruber, was as follows; "I am honoured to be given this opportunity as the head coach of Phnom Penh Crown. I have lived in Cambodia for almost ten years and been involved in a lot of activities in football. For the last six years I have been director of an NGO that uses football to bring about social change. During that time I have also coached the Girls national team and been a FIFA Instructor in Grassroots football. When I received this job offer at first I was hesitant as I have a lot of great opportunities already, so I took some time to understand the club's future vision. It is more than just coaching the first team, it is about developing the club to get to the next level. I am excited at this opportunity to further develop myself and help to develop the club in the future. I will do my best to bring Phnom Penh Crown to the next level with my experience and my knowledge."
His first task was to appoint the current Crown Academy head coach, Bouy Dary, as his first assistant coach. Joining him in the coaching team will be current goalkeeping coach Prak Vanny, existing Academy assistant coach Kao Kiry and a new face to the staff, former player Tes Sophat. All of Schweingruber's assistants are former Cambodia national team players and well-respected in the game. Their opening task will be to review and identify talented players who will attend trials at the club on 17, 18 and 19 October, the trials are open for players aged between 17-25 and will be held at the club's RSN Stadium in Tuol Kork.
In answering questions from the assembled media, Schweingruber indicated that he expects 2013 to be a season of transition, with a number of young players finding their feet in the C-League, and he will focus on generating the right team environment that will aid their development. His contract is for one year but if everything goes according to plan, that could be extended for a further five years, said club president, Rithy Samnang. The new coach will help with the training of the club's Academy squad, who it's hoped will improve step by step to be professional footballers of the future. The president confidently predicted that the club will be successful in the future, because Crown are going about things in the right way. Schweingruber will not divorce himself from his previous projects and will retain an advisory role with the SALT Academy and the Girls' national team, with the Crown club also forging links with the projects.
The club were also keen to place on record its appreciation and thanks to former head coach David Booth, who guided Crown to the Metfone C-League title in 2011 and to an unprecedented two AFC President's Cup final stage tournaments. Booth returned to his Thailand home on Sunday, having come to the end of his contract with the club, and is currently considering job offers from clubs in three different countries.
The top table . LtoR; Sam, Rithy Samnang (president) and me (press officer). Photo by 855 Media Group

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