Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fanfare for Yaty

Sou Yaty (red) with Sam Schweingruber after the keeper signed on
Phnom Penh Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was as pleased as punch to sign Cambodia’s number one goalkeeper Sou Yaty ahead of the new Metfone C-League season. “The reason we are excited to work with Sou Yaty is because we believe he has great potential to improve to the next level. He speaks decent English and we are preparing some special opportunities for him outside the country, to reach much higher levels than where he is at right now. We are looking to develop the Buffon of Cambodia – so that he can still play for the National team when he’s well into his thirties.” Schweingruber was keen to strengthen his squad by adding the Kingdom’s highly-rated stopper, who was a regular for the Cambodian U-19 and U-23 teams before making his senior debut for his country against Timor Leste in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Myanmar in 2012. Yaty, now 21 years old, has already appeared in two SEA Games competitions for Cambodia, in 2009 and 2011 and is in line to make it a hat-trick this December. He was part of the 2009 BIDC Cup winning squad and in 2010 was recognized as the Cambodian League’s Goalkeeper of the Year.

Phnom Penh born, he attended Wat Koh High School and began playing between the posts with Build Bright United in 2006 for a couple of years before taking a break to concentrate on his studies. He was persuaded to restart his career with the National Defense Ministry in 2009 and quickly made a name for himself, earning international recognition that same year. With the Army team, he helped them win the Hun Sen Cup in 2010 and they were beaten finalists earlier this year in the same competition, but it’s at national team level that he has shown his real prowess as the best goalkeeper in the Kingdom. Commenting on his move to PPCFC, the recently married stopper said: “I’m very happy to try and help the club win trophies, that is my aim in making this move. I’m really pleased to join Crown.” 

Schweingruber continued to outline his reasons for adding Yaty to his squad. "During our evaluation of last season and our lack of winning a trophy, we are obviously looking to do better than our two third-place finishes for the coming season. The goalkeeper position was one of the areas we felt where we wanted to strengthen our squad. At first it seemed impossible to get Cambodia's number 1 but when Sou Yaty signaled that he really wanted to join the Crown project, we started to work to make it possible. So I'm delighted he has joined us. We will leave the door open for Samrith Seiha, who has worked hard for the team and who is still on contract, as we believe competition for key places is important at our club. We have certainly not finished strengthening our squad either. By the end of this week, if everything falls into place, we'll sign another 1 or 2 Khmer players and plan to extend the contracts of a few more players. Then we are going to have a few foreign players come to join us for try outs. October will be a busy time for us, as we begin our pre-season conditioning." In the aftermath of Yaty's arrival, last season's regular keeper, Samrith Seiha requested an early release from his contract rather than stay to battle it out for the number 1 jersey, and is believed to be heading to NagaCorp. Both Yaty and Seiha were rivals for the same spot when they were with the Army a few seasons ago and were in a similar position in the national team squad as well.

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