Sunday, November 3, 2013

Futsal runners-up

The PPCFC Futsal squad: Back Row LtoR: Borey, Sarak, Keo, Srin, Ary, Dara, Boris, Sokumpheak. Front Row: Makara, Sothy, Sosela, Tola, Phearun, Pisa - click to enlarge
Playing futsal is a very different experience to playing on a full-size grass pitch. The skills required differ considerably and its not automatic that a skilful player on grass is also a competent futsal performer indoors. As the Phnom Penh Crown team found out when they entered a team in the Tiger National Futsal Championships, that was held at the Beeline Arena this week. Led by former fusal national team player, Ouk Sothy, the Crown team were determined to do well and can look back on a successful tournament, reaching the championship final only to come unstuck against Ramar. It was a close game but for various reasons, Crown didn't quite have the energy and went down to a single goal. It earned the players a cheque for $1000 as runners-up. Playing a first-team friendly earlier in the morning didn't exactly help and a hard-fought semi-final against Khmer Heart also took its toll. But no excuses, it was a good showing and all part of the team's pre-season training regime. In that semi-final win, Ouk Sothy scored twice and Chhom Pisa the other, to put them in the final. Earlier in the week, Crown thrashed Sovannaphum II 6-1, with a hat-trick from Neou Sosela, two goals from Mak Phearun and another from Chea Dara, and Tbong Pailin, 3-0 with goals from Sen Sarak, Neou Sosela and Mak Phearun, in their qualifying Group E matches. In the knock-out stages, two more victories put them through to the final day. A 3-1 victory over Charlo with goals from Mak Phearun and 2 from Ouk Sothy, was followed by a 2-0 quarter-final success against Dambo, with Noeu Sosela scoring both goals in the first-half. The only mystifying element of the championships was the decision by the FFC and the organisers to play the finals on the same day as Cambodia's U-23s were playing Malaysia at Olympic Stadium. That had a massive impact on the crowd for the final games and was dumb in the extreme. Both matches fell under the jurisdiction of the FFC so the fault lies squarely in their court, a futsal court obviously.
The PPCFC Futsal team in the final: Sokumpheak, Ary, Makara, Sosela, Sothy - click to enlarge

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