Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reward, suspensions and no hope

Sam Schweingruber picks up the AFC Asia Dream NGO award
Phnom Penh Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber was a speaker at last week's Sports for Development 2014 Conference in Ho Chi Minh City and at the same time was on hand to receive the prestigious AFC Asia Dream NGO Award on behalf of the SALT Academy, an NGO that he founded in Battambang a few years ago and for which he is still a director. He collected the award from AFC General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay and commented: “We started with a very small set up and continued to grow with the help of friends. It’s really good to see that the news of our good work has reached AFC and we feel honoured to receive this award. It is really a proud moment to be an NGO of the year and this recognition will surely boost our morale.” A really fabulous achievement for an NGO in northwest Cambodia to receive an award that spans the whole of Asian football. It doesn't get much bigger than this. Well done to SALT and their Mighty Girls, who already have a very close bond with PPCFC.

How remiss of me not to mention the recent announcement by the football federation that they have suspended 3 players from national and domestic football, as a result of an investigation into their activities. Okay, the federation have forgotten to say what those activities were, but the 3 players have been banned from the national team for a year and from domestic league football for six months. It all began when the federation president stopped 4 players and the team manager from travelling to the SEA Games in December, indicating they'd brought dishonour to the team. Six months later comes the verdict. The players who've been suspended are Cambodia national team regulars, Boeung Ket skipper Keo Sokngon, Naga's Sok Rithy and Svay Rieng's Tum Saray. They won't kick a ball in anger for at least six months. Police's Say Piseth and the national team manager are unscathed and their names haven't even been mentioned in the announcement. I think that's the last we will hear of it, unless the federation feel inclined to say more. Which they won't. It's now a closed chapter. And of course not a peep from the head coach on the matter, even though he's lost three important players ahead of October's qualifying rounds of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Korean coach of the Cambodia national team has selected 24 players to get together for training in order to see who will represent their country at the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy to be held in Brunei in August. The competition is at U-21 level with a few over-age players thrown in. Three Phnom Penh Crown players have been invited to the training sessions, Thourng Da, Ngoy Srin and Touch Sokheng. 

This week two teams from Cambodia will take part in the RHB Singapore Cup. C-League reigning champions Svay Rieng meet Albirex Niigata later today, who are one of the top teams in Singapore, they finished 2nd last term and their team consists of all-Japanese players. NagaCorp also put their names down and got into the competition, and they will come up against Home United on Friday, the current holders of the Singapore Cup. I don't hold out any hope that the Cambodian teams will get through these one-off matches. The two Singapore sides are currently in their league's top five places. So no hope at all. If they do, I'll eat a whole Burger King Whopper, and chips.

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