Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guam come knocking

Guam get a feel for the Olympic Stadium pitch yesterday afternoon
An intriguing match-up this afternoon will take place at Olympic Stadium at 4pm with the visit of Guam against what is essentially the Cambodia U-23 national team with the addition of Chhunly Pagenburg, all the way from Germany, and NagaCorp's Tieng Tiny. Guam are fresh off the back of a 1-1 draw with Laos, where they found the refereeing hard to come to grips with but finally got their rewards with a last-minute penalty equalizer. Despite having a population of less than 200,000, this island in the Pacific Ocean, which is an American territory, lie 27 places above Cambodia in the FIFA ranking table. Do tables lie? We shall see for ourselves this afternoon as Guam, with players like A DeLaGarza in their line-up - he won the Major Soccer League Cup with LA Galaxy and David Beckham last year - will bring a team of tall, strong and quick, mostly American-born players to pit themselves against a Cambodian team which is fresh off their BIDC Cup adventures and will be heading to Singapore soon for two more games before they take part in next month's SEA Games in Myanmar. Phnom Penh Crown's Sou Yaty and Sos Suhana will be in the line-up but one face that is missing, will be Bin Thierry, over in China with the Crown senior squad after his recent retirement from national team football. Chhunly Pagenburg has made the trip to Phnom Penh for the second time in as many months from his club in the second tier of German football, FSV Frankfurt, and will be making his national team debut. In addition to DeLaGarza, Guam's English coach Gary White has brought over another half a dozen players who ply their trade in the States, three who are playing professionally in the Philippines and a few more who are still based at home. Earlier this year they lost to Myanmar and India in the AFC Challenge Cup but gained a noteworthy scalp when beating Chinese Taipei 3-0. It's the type of international match that the Cambodian football fans want to see a lot more of. They have been starved of these games for far too long. The senior team last played in the Challenge Cup in March, losing heavily, and I mean heavily, to Turkmenistan and Philippines.

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