Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bittersweet for three young men

Sin Kakada (27) joins his teammates before the presentations begin
Whilst celebrations and back-slapping were the order of the afternoon for the Phnom Penh Crown Academy teams on Sunday, there were three young men who went through bittersweet emotions on the day. Take 13-year old Sin Kakada, playing for the Academy U-15s, for starters. Reaching his first major final, Kakada was a distraught figure in the grandstand, surrounded by his family, after receiving a red card a minute before the interval in the U-15s Final. Referee Chi Samedy had initially booked Kakada for kicking the ball away, then as Kakada shaped to shoot, Samedy blew for offside. Video replays clearly show Kakada's foot in motion to kick the ball as the whistle blew and that he had no opportunity to stop himself. That didn't wash with Samedy who took perverse delight in marching up to the teenager, producing a second yellow card and then brandished a red, as Kakada walked disconsolately from the pitch. Considering the circumstances, it's a contender for one of the worst decisions I've seen. You might simply think it was a harsh decision, I would call it spiteful in the extreme. Next up with mixed emotions was striker Chhuot Senteang. Back in the U-17s line-up after months out with a broken collarbone, Senteang missed a good chance in the second half as his team were level-pegging with rivals Svay Rieng. In time added on, as the game headed towards penalties, he was deliberately scythed down by an opposing defender and left the field on a stretcher, clutching his right knee. The whistle blew and with Senteang lying on the bench in tears and agony, he couldn't even watch as his teammates won the nerve-jangling penalty shoot-out. The third tough luck story from finals day was Suon Noeut. Called into the U-17s team to provide some width on the right, Noeut has been a revelation for the U-15s team this season, scoring goals for fun and clocking up no less than 54 goals in 8 matches. He was scheduled to play two matches on Sunday. However, half an hour into the second half of the U-17s game, he fell awkwardly on his wrist and left the field in acute pain, the wrist sprained. Clearly unable to take part in the U-15s match immediately after, he had to watch through his tears as his teammates won the final 3-1. For all three players, winners medals provided relief from their personal agony, as they joined in the jubilant celebrations, with Noeut also collecting the U-15s Top Goalscorer and Most Valuable Player awards. All's well that ends well.
Referee Chi Samedy tossing up before the U-15s final - needs to take a long hard look at his decision-making
Goal-machine Suon Noeut collects his awards, despite having to sit out the U-15s Final

No comments: