Monday, July 28, 2014

Sam speaks and more awards

Sam Schweingruber with his son and friend
Phnom Penh Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his view after Sunday's victory over Boeung Ket and the presentation of the medals and trophy to his team. "It was a dominant display. I don't think they really threatened us. Unfortunate that we couldn't come up with a second goal in the first half and George was unlucky not to score when he got injured. We played to our plan, we had a slightly different approach today than normal and it worked well for us. Up after seven minutes or so, they had one situation when we had to change George and our organisation was struggling a bit as my ideas didn't quite work out. We adjusted quickly and had complete control of the game again. Another early goal in the second half and then we know we can sit it out easily enough.
I found it hard to believe how the referee tried to keep the game interesting. The amount of yellow cards we got for nothing, then a red card and a penalty, it makes me laugh, almost as much as Vathanaka getting the MVP award. What has he done, what game has he decided, what influence did he have on this year's league? Certainly not anywhere close to what Sokumpheak has done, what Adriano has done, what a whole bunch of our players have done. I'm shocked, but not surprised at all. As for best coach, I had a strong feeling they would give it to a Cambodian.
We came close last season so it was an obvious progression that we wanted to win it this year. The boss [Rithy Samnang] helped in many ways by getting the people on board we needed, coaching-wise and playing-wise. There were a few games that were close, though today was not a close game, there was only one winner today. The crowd support today was amazing, I wish we'll have this more often. For the players, I'm sad for some who didn't play today and for some who didn't have the impact this season they wanted to but very pleased overall with the performances from everyone involved." 

Ung Kanyanith gets his coach award - photo by Masayori Ishikawa
In addition to the medals and presentation of the Championship trophy to Crown, as well as a cheque for $15,000, there were awards and medals to the runners-up and third-placed teams. Boeung Ket received $11,500 and NagaCorp $9,000. The usual end of season individual awards were also meted out by the football federation and this is where is got interesting, and highly controversial. Everyone expected Sam Schweingruber to collect the Best Coach accolade after guiding his team to the championship with just two defeats in only his second season. The FFC thought otherwise and handed it to Ung Kanyanith, the coach of National Police who finished well down the pecking order in 6th place. No-one can fathom how that decision was based on merit over the league campaign just completed. There was also audible gasps of shock when Chan Vathanaka was called forward to collect the season's Most Valuable Player award. Compared to the performances of outstanding performers like Kouch Sokumpheak, the captain of the league champions and everyone's nailed-on favourite to collect the prize, and others, Vathanaka has spent time on the bench or injured this season and his choice of MVP ranks up there with that of Chea Samnang in 2011. Incomprehensible. The Golden Boot went to Dzarma Bata, who has been banging in goals for fun with Svay Rieng and managed to overtake Crown's George Bisan in the last few weeks of the season. Bata topped the chart with 23 goals, Bisan finished with 20. At least Crown got a look-in when Sou Yaty collected the Best Goalkeeper award and a cheque for 1.5 million riels. Acknowledged as Cambodia's no.1 for a long time now, it was a fair decision for the stopper who picked up his first league medal after joining Crown at the start of the campaign and performed consistently well. Tuy Vichheka led the refereeing team that collected $1,000 as Best Referee group, after what can only be described as a performance in the final game that left many scratching their heads over a series of his decisions. Bottom club Albirex Niigata picked up the Fair Play award, another $1,000 reward that only the FFC control.

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