Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taka signs on

Crown's new signing, Takahito Ota
Phnom Penh Crown look likely to unveil their new signing, 24 year old Japanese midfielder Takahito Ota in their Singapore Cup match against SAFFC tomorrow night. He might even be in line to get a starting berth, but we will have to wait and see. The club's latest signing arrived late into the evening after being held up in Phnom Penh awaiting his Cambodian visa and having also just got the thumbs up for his international transfer certificate, which allows him to formally sign for Crown. Taka, as he's known, has been with the club for a month on a trial basis and has played a couple of practice matches in the past week. He's done enough to earn himself a contract according to caretaker coach Bouy Dary and he becomes the club's fourth foreigner in the current squad, and is believed to be the first Japanese player to join a C-League club. Born in Toyama in Japan, he played his youth football with JaSRAFC and Mie FC Ranpore before joining Ishikawa FC, where he combined semi-professional football with working in a restaurant. Determined to make the break into full-time football, Taka travelled to Thailand where he teamed up with the Bangkok Christian College team for a season in the Thai 2nd Division Bangkok Regional league. He also tried his luck in Myanmar with Okkthar United, Yadanabon and Manaw Myay but couldn't secure a contract so he returned to Thailand with Division 2 team Sakaeo City for a few months prior to coming over to Cambodia. "I heard from Sin Dalin (ex-Army and now with Sakaeo) and Khim Borey (ex-Crown and now with Sisaket) in Thailand that PPCFC is a good club and I wanted to test myself in Cambodia, so I came here. I now know that PPCFC is a good club, they are the number one club in Cambodia and I'm very happy to join them. I want to help them become the best professional club they can and to do well for myself as the first Japanese player in Cambodia," said the smiling new signing. Whilst in Thailand in May he also took part in a charity match as part of Hidetoshi Nakata's Japan All-Stars to raise money for the tsunami and earthquake victims. Taka is also pretty savvy when it comes to the internet. He's one of the few players to have his own blog (in Japanese) and a Twitter profile. Take a look for yourself here. As Taka joins the Crown squad for the game tomorrow, one face who will be missing is defensive kingpin Odion Obadin. He didn't travel with the Crown team after he failed to get a visa from the Singapore authorities. The way he's been playing this season, I think they probably did it deliberately.

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