Monday, September 30, 2013

U-17 Youth League fixtures

The fixtures for Phnom Penh Crown's U-17s in the new Cambodia U-17 Youth League are below. There will be just 5 teams in the competition and they will meet each other twice before the Top 4 enter the play-offs in late December. All U-17 matches will be played at PPCFC's RSN Stadium in Tuol Kork.
PPCFC U-17 Fixtures:
13 Oct v SSCA - 2pm
20 Oct v Western U - 2pm
27 Oct v Army Youth Hope - 4pm
3 Nov v Svay Rieng - 4pm
1 Dec v SSCA - 2pm
4 Dec (Wed) v Western U - 2pm
8 Dec v Army Youth Hope - 4pm
15 Dec v Svay Rieng - 4pm
Play-offs on 22 and 28 Dec at RSN. Final on 29 Dec at Cheng Meng.

U-15 fixtures

The fixtures for Phnom Penh Crown's U-15s in the new Cambodia U-15 Youth League are below. All matches will be played at the Cheng Meng football center on the outskirts of the capital. There are 8 teams in the league and they only meet each other once before the Top 4 enter the play-offs on 22 and 29 Dec. PPCFC U-15 Fixtures:
29 Sep v Komar Ang Snuol - Won 27-0.
20 Oct v Boeung Ket - 8am
27 Oct v Navy - 8am
24 Nov v Komar Ampor Wan - 8am
1 Dec v SSCA - 2pm
8 Dec v Svay Rieng - 4pm
15 Dec v National Police - 4pm

Sunday, September 29, 2013

27 without reply

Back Row LtoR: Sovannaroth, Rozak, Baraing, Ronaldo, K Chhaya, S Samnang. FrontRow: Saphy, Piseth, Kakada, Piphop, Noeut.
The Phnom Penh Crown U-15s started their matches in the new Cambodia U-15 Youth League with a thoroughly resounding 27-0 victory over Komar Ang Snuol at the Cheng Meng football center this afternoon. The match was played in pouring rain and the two teams did well on a surface that was waterlogged before the game began. Obviously with that scoreline, the game was totally one-sided and Ang Snuol didn't manage a shot for the entire 90 minutes. Crown on the other hand, scored 27 but could've easily scored another twenty or so. Suon Noeut, normally a full-back, was pushed up front for this game and responded with 10 goals. When he gets his eye in, he'll do even better.

Now for a run through of the goals from the match. On 6 minutes Sath Rozak took a pass from Mao Piseth and fired into the corner of the net. A minute later, Piseth's high cross was fumbled by the keeper and Sin Kakada tucked in the loose ball. On 14 mins another Piseth pass found Suon Noeut and he opened his account with a simple finish. Two minutes later and Kakada stroked home another Piseth low cross. A minute on and Noeut ran through unopposed to finish calmly. After 19 minutes, Noeut picked the top corner with a sweet finish from Men Piphop's pass for his hat-trick. Four minutes later Kakada set up Piphop and he let rip from twenty yards out. 26 minutes in and Crown struck number eight through Noeut, who capitalised on a bad clearance from the keeper. Two minutes later, a Kim Chhaya shot fell kindly to Noeut who finished with a one-two off the post. within a minute another poor kick-out was punished again by Noeut for his double hat-trick. The 1st half scoring was wrapped up by Chhaya, on 34 minutes, who took Piseth's pass and smacked home his shot from the edge of the box.

The 2nd half continued in the same one-sided vein though the Ang Snuol keeper pulled off a series of excellent saves throughout the game. Five minutes in and a poor kick out by the keeper and Kakada made no mistake for his third. Twelves minutes played and Seut Baraing got the goal he was looking for, with a rasping drive from Piseth's pull back. Mao Piseth was having the assists match of all time to this point. Two minutes later and Kakada set up Piphop and his curling shot found the net. Within a minute Rozak easily finished off another poor clearance. Goals were raining in and Noeut set up Piphop for another, a minute later, before Crown made a double substitution. On 68 mins a Baraing shot was blocked and Noeut fired in the loose ball. A minute later and Piseth's cross was put past his own keeper by a hapless defender. Two minutes more and Piphop cashed in on a defensive error. 72 minutes and Noeut ran past the backline to score with ease. Two minutes later and Chhaya scored with a glorious lob from 25 yards out. On 76 minutes sub Phlong Sokraksa weaved his way around four players and the keeper to score a fine individual goal. A minute later, Piphop won a tackle and netted with ease. Piseth finally got the goal his set-up play deserved, when he beat two players and walloped the ball home, with ten minutes to go. On 83 mins Noeut rolled in after another poor clearance with Crown's 25th goal. With 2 mins remaining, Piphop ran past three players to fire home, and Noeut ended the agony for Ang Snuol in the final seconds, when he tapped home after San David's mazy run and shot had hit the foot of the post. All in all, 27 goals without reply. When the official score came back as 26, it was clear the FFC official couldn't keep count. Obviously not enough lead in his pencil. Believe me, it was 27.
U-15s line-up: S Samnang, Ronaldo (N David 46), Sovannaroth (Pisoth 62), Baraing, Saphy, Chhaya, Rozak (S David 62), Piphop, Piseth (Chanmony 81), Kakada (Sokraksa 70), Noeut. Subs not used: Rafat. Booking: Rozak.
Subs LtoR: S David, N David, Chanmony, Pisoth, Sokraksa, Rafat

The PPCFC U-15s celebrate their 27-0 success

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fanfare for Yaty

Sou Yaty (red) with Sam Schweingruber after the keeper signed on
Phnom Penh Crown coach Sam Schweingruber was as pleased as punch to sign Cambodia’s number one goalkeeper Sou Yaty ahead of the new Metfone C-League season. “The reason we are excited to work with Sou Yaty is because we believe he has great potential to improve to the next level. He speaks decent English and we are preparing some special opportunities for him outside the country, to reach much higher levels than where he is at right now. We are looking to develop the Buffon of Cambodia – so that he can still play for the National team when he’s well into his thirties.” Schweingruber was keen to strengthen his squad by adding the Kingdom’s highly-rated stopper, who was a regular for the Cambodian U-19 and U-23 teams before making his senior debut for his country against Timor Leste in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Myanmar in 2012. Yaty, now 21 years old, has already appeared in two SEA Games competitions for Cambodia, in 2009 and 2011 and is in line to make it a hat-trick this December. He was part of the 2009 BIDC Cup winning squad and in 2010 was recognized as the Cambodian League’s Goalkeeper of the Year.

Phnom Penh born, he attended Wat Koh High School and began playing between the posts with Build Bright United in 2006 for a couple of years before taking a break to concentrate on his studies. He was persuaded to restart his career with the National Defense Ministry in 2009 and quickly made a name for himself, earning international recognition that same year. With the Army team, he helped them win the Hun Sen Cup in 2010 and they were beaten finalists earlier this year in the same competition, but it’s at national team level that he has shown his real prowess as the best goalkeeper in the Kingdom. Commenting on his move to PPCFC, the recently married stopper said: “I’m very happy to try and help the club win trophies, that is my aim in making this move. I’m really pleased to join Crown.” 

Schweingruber continued to outline his reasons for adding Yaty to his squad. "During our evaluation of last season and our lack of winning a trophy, we are obviously looking to do better than our two third-place finishes for the coming season. The goalkeeper position was one of the areas we felt where we wanted to strengthen our squad. At first it seemed impossible to get Cambodia's number 1 but when Sou Yaty signaled that he really wanted to join the Crown project, we started to work to make it possible. So I'm delighted he has joined us. We will leave the door open for Samrith Seiha, who has worked hard for the team and who is still on contract, as we believe competition for key places is important at our club. We have certainly not finished strengthening our squad either. By the end of this week, if everything falls into place, we'll sign another 1 or 2 Khmer players and plan to extend the contracts of a few more players. Then we are going to have a few foreign players come to join us for try outs. October will be a busy time for us, as we begin our pre-season conditioning." In the aftermath of Yaty's arrival, last season's regular keeper, Samrith Seiha requested an early release from his contract rather than stay to battle it out for the number 1 jersey, and is believed to be heading to NagaCorp. Both Yaty and Seiha were rivals for the same spot when they were with the Army a few seasons ago and were in a similar position in the national team squad as well.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In-house but one-sided

PPCFC U-17s: Back row, LtoR: Sovann, Ponvuthy, Sakrovy, Soksela, Chanpolin, Titchhy. Front Row: Muslim, Nuron, T Chhaya, Chansopheak, Phearath
The new season is just about to start for Phnom Penh Crown's youth teams. The start of the new Federation-organised U-15 and U-17 Championships is scheduled to begin next Sunday (29 Sept). In preparation for it, the Crown Academy, which will provide the vast majority of the players for the two teams, played against each other earlier today.  The result went decisively in favour of the potential U-17 team, though coach Bouy Dary has yet to decide his final squad line-ups. The game was played at RSN Stadium and the U-17s ran out 7-0 winners with Yeu Muslim netting 4 goals, with 1 apiece for Sraing Titchhy, Mat Nuron and Mat Sakrovy.
PPCFC U-15s: Back Row LtoR: Piphop, Sovannaroth, S Samnang, Chanchav, V Samnang, Baraing. Front Row: Noeut, Saphy, Kakada, Piseth, Rozak.

Friday, September 13, 2013


The Cambodia U-19 national team are in Indonesia right now, taking part in the AFF U-19 Championships. Two Phnom Penh Crown players, Chhom Pisa and Ly Morslim were in the final training squad but only Pisa made it into the twenty-strong squad that actually travelled. They lost their first match the other day, 3-1 to Laos and Pisa was on the bench.

Sam Schweingruber, assisted by Bouy Dary, is currently running a ten-day D-License coaching course for wannabe coaches, to give them a basic grounding on grassroots development. Sam is a FIFA instructor and will soon be off to Australia to conduct a course. For the time being, he's putting 38 potentials through their paces and that includes 20 Phnom Penh Crown players, who are taking the course as part of their personal development plan. It's never too early to think about what to do once playing football for a living is no longer an option. Crown are keen for their players to do a lot more than simply training and playing, and this includes community work, visiting schools and much more.

Two Phnom Penh Crown staff, Academy assistant coach Kao Kiry and general secretary Ly Heang, recently completed an intensive three-week B-License coaching course at the national football center. Kiry is a former national team player who has been with the Crown Academy since it opened its doors in 2011. Heang joined Crown last season after half a dozen years in grassroots development in Battambang. Both should hear the outcome of their hard work in a few months time.

Last but not least, an update on the clubs vying to gain entry into the Metfone C-League for the 2014 season. The A1 Division championship is the avenue that clubs take and a series of matches in Takeo in the last week or so have been sorting the wheat from the chaff. TriAsia, the club that plays hyped-up cup matches instead of friendlies and who have Japanese coffee money backing them up, won the final earlier today, beating Takeo after extra time. The two teams will now meet AEU and Senate in a play-off to decide who fills spots 9 and 10 in next season's MCL. The semi-final between TriAsia and Battambang Rice Bank certainly caused a stir when the province team accused the referee of cheating and walked off the pitch with ten minutes left of extra time. Tri-Asia were leading 3-2 at the time. Battambang felt the match official was biased after disallowing a goal of theirs, allowing an offside goal for TriAsia's 93rd minute leveller, and showing a red card to two of their players. Spectators at the game were vociferous in their support of Battambang's complaints. They were so pissed off they didn't even bother turning up for the 3rd place play-off. TriAsia's Japanese coach put it down to divine intervention. "Invisible something is in the field when the important match is held... I felt a god is equally watching us." Cue the God Cup next time TriAsia play a friendly.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Incoming new faces

 Phnom Penh Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber has moved quickly to strengthen his playing squad before pre-season conditioning training begins in earnest in early October. The Swiss tactician had this to say about his two new signings this week, Touch Sokheng and Neou Sosela, both on 1-year contracts. "Both Heng and Sela are experienced and quality additions to the team, providing the depth to the squad we lacked last season. Now a few more contract extensions and some more new faces and we are ready to challenge for the coming season." 

Both new arrivals are midfielders though Sosela usually plies his trade down either flank, and both, at 23 years old, have a point to prove after stuttering phases in their respective football careers. It's certainly something Schweingruber hopes will work in his team's favour and of course the players as well. "Sela is a quality addition, giving us options on the wing with his pace. I'm well aware of the number of yellow cards he got last season... and have stressed the importance of discipline so Sela knows that he will only be the important player he can be, if he has his temperament under better control." The diminutive winger exploded onto the scene back in 2009 when his electric pace and tricky footwork bamboozled defences for his Army team and made him the darling of the country's national team fans as Cambodia's U-23s won the BIDC Cup under Scott O'Donell. Sosela was a big part of that success though injury cost him a place in the SEA Games. He returned to win the Hun Sen Cup with Army but fell out of favour and spent almost two years on the sidelines, even spending ten months with NagaCorp, but unable to turn out due to the Army's intransigence. A move to National Police at the start of 2012 rekindled his career but three suspensions last season blighted his copybook. For Sosela, his move to Crown signals a new phase. "Crown are an organised and well-structured club who have international standards. I need a challenge to improve myself and I want to work with a strong team which wants to win and with players who have the same mentality. Crown has all of that," explained the Phnom Penh-born dynamo who fans nicknamed Chaly, comapring him to the small, nippy motorbike of the same name.

Alongside him, a former Army teammate, Touch Sokheng, will be out to prove a point after kicking his heels on the Boeung Ket substitute's bench for most of last season. As Schweingruber explains: "I see Heng as a central midfield player and believe he has been played in the wrong position at Boeung Ket... but time will tell. We were a bit lacking depth, meaning not enough options when a player was injured or out of form or lacking discipline, that left us with a totally inexperienced bench with not enough attacking options in important games last season. Heng rarely got a chance at Boeung Ket and he is hungry to show what made him an important player in the seasons before. Boeung Ket signed too many players and ended up wasting some talents on the bench. We hope Heng can pick up his form and get back to his old strengths." Sokheng is a native of Koh Kong and after moving to the capital in 2008 he hooked up with Phnom Penh Empire for a year before moving onto Post Tel. The Army was his next port of call for three years before he switched to Boeung Ket before the start of their C-League winning season in 2012. Looking forward to a new opportunity with Crown, Sokheng said: "I want to improve myself and with so many good players at Boeung Ket, my chances were limited. So I want to show my ability again with a fresh start and I'm very happy to join a club like Crown, and reunite with my former Army colleagues like Borey and Sela. I want to win things and play my part in helping Crown to more success."

In addition to the two new faces this week, Schweingruber has been boosted by the signature of playmaker Kouch Sokumpheak on a new 2-year contract. "I'm very happy to have agreed terms with Pheak and put an end to speculation over his future. He is in his best football years right now and I believe we have still to see the best of him, so we are happy he can now focus fully on preparing for a new and exciting season ahead." Other clubs had been reportedly sniffing around the popular player, who originally joined Crown in November 2010 from Khemara Keila. We can expect some more newcomers through the doors of Crown over the next few weeks, especially when pre-season training begins and the club decide on their quota of foreign players for the coming season.
Touch Sokheng

Neou Sosela, aka Mr Chaly

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Federation make sweeping changes

It's been a bit quiet on the football front in recent days, so it's good to come back to the blog with some pretty earth-shattering news. For lovers of Cambodian football that is. Okay, so earth-shattering may be a little too much but for me personally, it feels like someone has at last seen the light and unscrewed their head from the dark place that it's been resting for the last couple of years. The Super 4 play-offs in the Metfone Cambodian League have been abolished, ahead of the upcoming 2014 season. In its place will be a straight, first past the post league competition, that reverts Cambodian football back to real football and away from the mickey mouse stuff that has decided the championship in recent times. It's the best news for all traditionalists and football purists like myself. Thumbs up to the football federation. I may be their biggest critic but credit where it's due. The news was announced in a club manager's meeting earlier today, alongwith some other very interesting snippets.

The next bombshell from the federation, is that the ten-club league championship will be extended to 11 clubs when it begins again in January. But wait for it...the newcomers will be from Japan, in the shape of Albirex Niigata FC. What, how, why, I hear you cry! The federation have been cuddling up to the Japanese FA in recent months and this is the brand new baby that has been delivered from that close union. No need to qualify or any such nonsense, a free pass straight into the MCL. Albirex Niigata already operate two teams, their main act is in the J-League Division 1 but they also have a team, doing very well I might add, in the Singapore League as well. This will be a further extension of the AN franchise. The federation are hoping this will add a real buzz to the C-League, improve spectator interest, with the new club playing Japanese players, bringing a new style of football playing, coaching and management to Cambodian football and effectively giving the league a veritable kick up the arse. It's a bold move that has paid off in Singapore and the federation hope it will have the same effect here. We shall see, but if you don't try, you don't know.

As if those two announcements weren't enough, there is more. The federation have confirmed they want to start home and away fixtures from January, though they appreciate this will be limited because of the timeframe to put this into place. But they are keen for clubs to work towards this goal and keen to get it off the ground. It's known that PPCFC, Boeung Ket and Svay Rieng are taking measures to follow the federation's lead, whilst the Army already have their own stadium. With the play-offs abolished, the federation want to introduce an end of season cup competition in its place. The FFC Cup will likely involve the top four finishers in the championship race playing-off for this new cup to add a bit of spice to the end of the campaign, as well as a couple of extra matches. The teams below haven't been forgotten either and they will play-off for the FFC Challenge Cup under the same format. Last but not least, the season's calendar will change after the 2014 season comes to an end in July. Next year, the C-League will begin again soon after, in October (2014) and run through til May, with the Hun Sen Cup acting as a mid-season competition in December-January time. The reason for this change has yet to be explained but avoiding the heavy rains might be the prompt they needed. So there you have it, the federation have made some sweeping changes to the Metfone C-League that is looming large on the horizon and all in all, they look like an interesting mix.