Friday, January 31, 2014

Painful reunion

Elroy in Flying Dutchman mode against for PPCFC v BBU last season. Photo courtesy Sovanna Kem.
The return of the flowing flocks of Elroy van der Hooft creates an interesting conundrum for football fans in the kingdom. The Dutch-born striker, with more than a hint of Indonesian blood in his veins, which is the main reason he came to this part of the world in the first place, made tsunami-like waves with thirteen goals in a handful of games for Phnom Penh Crown in the second half of last season. A hat-trick on his debut against Kirivong and then 4 more against Senate, certainly helped cement a place in the hearts of Crown supporters, and Khmer football fans in general. His friendly style off the pitch was a big winner as well. At the end of the season, he returned to Holland for some rest and recuperation and to mull over his future. In the meantime, Crown searched elsewhere for their overseas signings ahead of the new season, as Elroy returned to try his fortune in Indonesia, though beset by injury, his timing was awry and after a fruitless search for a team there and in Thailand, he's returned to Cambodia this week for a second stint. This time, Boeung Ket have forked out what's thought to be the biggest pay-check in C-League history to secure his services. Whether he can recapture his goalscoring knack remains to be seen. For loyal Crown fans his switch to the Rubbermen, one of Crown's bitterest rivals, will be painful in the extreme. A few will see it as a betrayal. For others, whose support fluctuates between one, two or three of the top clubs, depending on which way the wind is blowing, they will simply be happy to see the Flying Dutchman back on the country's football pitches. The die-hard football fan is still very much in its infancy in Cambodia, so Elroy should have a fairly easy time of it, unlike the reception he might've expected playing in many other leagues in the world. The bottom line is that it all adds to the excitement and rivalry as we get the Metfone C-League season underway in the kingdom. Photo courtesy of Sovanna Kem.

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