Lest we forget the progress made by the Phnom Penh Crown Academy in the little over two years it's been in existence, here's a brief potted history of the Academy:
February 2011 saw a new chapter begin in the
Phnom Penh Crown FC story. Following trials in seventeen provinces
around Cambodia, twenty-two young players, aged 13 and under, became the
first intake at the club’s Elite Football Academy, the first full-time residential Academy in the country.
It is the vision of Crown President Rithy Samnang to develop
well-rounded, technically-gifted players who will represent both club
and country in the years to come. With support from the Asia Pacific
Football Academy (APFA), the Academy programme is individually tailored
and provides players with an opportunity to maximise their football
potential whilst placing a strong emphasis on their academic studies.
Not only interested in developing great football players, Crown are also
aiming to develop great people as well.
Under the leadership of
Academy head coach Bouy Dary and assisted by Kao Kiry, both former
Cambodian international players and qualified coaches, the Academy squad
surpassed all expectations in their first year of existence.
International exposure is a key element of the youngsters’ development
and half of the squad returned from a six-match visit to the Singapore
Sixes youth tournament in June with a creditable third place. The other
half of the Academy pool of players enjoyed a three match training tour
to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and included a 6-3 success over the
Vinamilk-Arsenal Soccer School on their travels.
Closer to home,
Crown hosted the inaugural First State Gold Investment Cup in September
2011 with both Academy teams getting through to the cup final to ensure
the trophy stayed at home, with the match televised live on national TV.
In domestic competition, they carried off the Barclays Capital
Indochina Starfish U-13 Championship in May 2011 and repeated the feat
in the U-14 Championship in March 2012, scoring 127 goals and winning
all twelve matches they played.
July 2012 saw the Academy return to
take part in the Singapore Sixes youth tournament, losing out in the
final on penalty kicks. A month earlier, 17 of the 22 Academy squad were
selected to represent Cambodia in the AFC U-14 Festival of Football in
Malaysia. Two Academy players, Orn Chanpolin and Chhuot Senteang
travelled to Vietnam in August to represent Cambodia in the Aspire
Football Dreams trials.
At the beginning of 2013, the Cambodia
Football Development League for youth players at U-12, U-14 and U-16 age
levels began and Crown currently sit in first place in the U-16
category with six wins out of six. The Academy have also travelled to
play matches against local teams in provinces across the country. Three
of the Academy’s youngest players have been selected in the Cambodia
U-14 squad for the AFC U-14 championships in Myanmar in May.
twenty-two players are now in their second full year at the Academy,
living in dormitory accommodation at the club’s Tuol Kork training
headquarters and attending coaching sessions each morning and private
school every afternoon. They have also benefitted from coaching visits
from none other than Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio
Cannavaro, as well as former Chelsea Manager Ken Shellito and Austrian
assistant national coach Fritz Schmid.