Saturday, February 28, 2015

Playing for their future

The 20 who progress to the final trials in April
The trials on Saturday morning for youngsters looking to earn a place in the Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-13s were a great success with more than 230 boys involved in the testing. The Crown coaches selected 20 of the best boys to progress to the final test, which will take place in April after the coaches have assessed players in regional try-outs in Siem Reap, Poipet, Battambang, Kompong Som and Koh Kong. Here are the 20 boys who go through to the final test.

Crown raid Sierra Leone

3 new PPCFC faces from Sierra Leone
Phnom Penh Crown have raided the Craig Bellamy Foundation Academy in Sierra Leone, in West Africa, for three of their most talented and accomplished players. The three new faces arrived last night from Freetown and will join PPCFC until October of this year. Whilst Santigie Koroma (aged 18) will test himself with the Crown senior team, his two teammates, Suleiman Samura (17) and Umaru Samura (16) will feature for Crown’s Academy team. Crown’s Academy Technical Director Tom Legg knows the boys well from his time in Sierra Leone and is confident in their ability. "PPCFC have shown over the past few years their commitment to establishing an environment of excellence and maximise the capacity of the Academy program. The acquisition of Umaru and Suleiman shows how dedicated we are to strengthening our position as the leading football development program in Cambodia and a sign of intent to push for even greater success. The experience both players have gained over the past five years in Sierra Leone and Europe, and the mentality that is necessary to reach these levels will serve as inspiration to those around them to realise their own true potential." Suleiman and Umaru will become part of the Academy U-17 squad in preparation for acceptance into the 2015 Asia Champions Trophy. Santigie, who made his international debut for Sierra Leone's U-20 national team last year at the age of 17, will be challenging for a place in the senior team.

5 Crown players in NT

The Cambodia NT vs Singapore U-22, courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa. Back row, Udom, Sovan, Thierry, Sovannrithy, Visal, Laboravy. Front: Srin, Sokthorn, Suhana, Chhoeun, Phirum - click to enlarge
The Cambodia National Team won their latest World Cup warm-up friendly match, 3-0 against the Singapore U-22 team at Svay Rieng on Saturday. Not exactly first-class opposition before the double-header World Cup ties with Macau next month, but a suitable confidence booster nonetheless. 4 Phnom Penh Crown players started the match with Bin Thierry, Ngoy Srin, Va Sokthorn and Sos Suhana helping the team to a 3-0 victory, with all three goals scored in the first-half. Prak Mony Udom with two tap-ins and captain Khuon Laboravy netted the goals for Cambodia. Thierry had a big hand in the first goal and Suhana's shot was saved for Udom to tap in the third. Sokthorn was busy throughout the hour he spent on the pitch with 4 attempts on goal. Sary Matnorotin replaced Sokthorn on 62 minutes, Suhana was also replaced and Thierry was subbed on 70 minutes. Crown's Thourng Da was not selected. The starting line-up looks like the one coach Lee Tae-Hoon will stick with, with the Macau matches firmly in mind. There appears to be no starting place for keeper Sou Yaty and a few other notable absentees are Kouch Sokumpheak, Hong Pheng and Chan Vathanaka, though the latter may get a call-up next week.

Sovann revels in new role

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sovann, Sakrovy, Chhaya, Titchhy, Soksela, V Samnang (capt). Front: Rozak, Sodavid, Chansopheak, Baraing, Chanpolin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 4 AEU 2 (Friendly).
Crown's Academy U-17s were well in front by the half-time break, leading 4-nil and had enough to see out this win at RSN Stadium. Vat Samnang opened the scoring with a far post header on 19 minutes from In Sodavid's cross. Ouk Sovann, playing in his new striker's role, finished off a smart move and center from Mat Sakrovy after 27 minutes, and then Orn Chanpoilin touched home his free-kick 6 minutes later. Sovann netted his second with a neat finish from Seut Baraing's whipped cross on 37 minutes. AEU scored twice after the break and Keo Soksela pulled off a couple of smart saves, but the Academy advantage stood firm to win 4-2 against the team who finished in 8th place last season.
Match report to follow.

The Booysen show

PPCFC vs TriAsia, back row, LtoR; Sokheng, Boris, Kim, Makara, Obadin, Ary. Front: Sothy, Momoh, Boran, Bisan, Booysen - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 5 TriAsia PP 1 (Friendly).
At the final whistle Shane Booysen felt he didn't play so well this afternoon, despite the fleet-footed South African scoring two and making two more in this well-deserved 5-1 success for Crown at RSN Stadium. The TriAsia team had held the Cambodia national team to a goalless draw in midweek but were no match for Crown in this encounter. With head coach Sam Schweingruber on his way back from Spain, his assistant Tes Sophat was in charge and gave starting berths to two players on trial, Booysen and Momoh Sumaila. Booysen will kick himself when he sees the replay of a chance on eight minutes when Ouk Sothy set him free down the middle but his lob went wide of the far post. Yok Ary was down well to block a shot soon after before Crown took the lead on 22 minutes. Booysen's free-kick accuracy was evident as Odion Obadin outjumped the TriAsia defence to head home a pinpoint cross. Leng Makara, from George Bisan's pass, had a shot blocked by Hem Simay's legs, whilst at the other end, Chan Rithy's disguised free-kick produced a wonderful one-handed save from Jun Kochi, who replaced Ary on the half-hour. Crown would use four keepers in the match. Bisan volleyed over from distance and Jeongho Kim had a drilled shot held low down by Simay before Crown netted a second a minute before the break. It was the Booysen-Obadin combination once again as a free-kick from the right flank unerringly found the defenders' head and the back of the net.

There was no change after the break as Crown continued to control the match. Makara fired into the side netting and Kim headed over the bar under pressure. Momoh's smart pass to Makara saw the winger drill a shot across the face of goal, and he then found Booysen, whose first-time effort went wide too. Bisan's forceful run and cross saw Kim denied on the goal-line amidst a dust cloud, and Booysen had a shot held by the keeper. Khmer-French trialist keeper Danny Srey saved with his feet and then at the foot of the post before Booysen finished off a sweeping six-man, one-touch move with a thumping left foot dipping drive for Crown's third goal, and followed it with a double somersault to celebrate. It came on 74 minutes with Chey Chetra supplying the final pass. Srey had no chance with TriAsia's consolation goal three minutes later. On 83 minutes Booysen showed sublime touch and skill as he latched onto a quick free-kick, left two defenders in his wake on the bye-line before nonchalantly flicking the ball past the keeper for a stunning individual goal. Two minutes later another piece of Booysen magic set up Um Tola but he squirmed his low drive wide of the far post. With a minute to go, Ivory Coast trialist Franck Yapo capitalised on another Booysen dribble, and sold the keeper a dummy before rolling the ball into the net for Crown's fifth and a satisfying victory. 
PPCFC vs TriAsia: Ary (Kochi 31, (Srey 60, (Usarphea 81))), Boris, Boran, Sokheng, Obadin, Sothy, Kim (Tola 66), Sumaila, Makara (Chetra 64), Booysen, Bisan (Yapo 76). Booking: Boran. MOTM: Obadin + Booysen. Goals: Obadin 2 (22, 43), Booysen 2 (74, 83), Yapo (89).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Honours shared

PPCFC starting XI, back row, LtoR: Kochi, Boris, Sokthorn, Thierry, Obadin, Bisan. Front Row: Matnorotin, Sothy, Sokheng, Pisa, Booysen - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 2 African All Stars 2 (Friendly).
Honours were shared at the end of this often bruising 3x35 minute practice match at RSN Stadium this afternoon with both teams having spells on top before the game petered out to a hard-fought draw in the third period. Japanese goalkeeper Jun Kochi was commanding in goal for Crown early on as he made himself big in the face of some marauding African XI attacks, stopping three attempts on goal in the first sixteen minutes. George Bisan was wayward at the other end though Shane Booysen's chipped effort was headed off the goal-line as play switched from end to end. Bisan, from Booysen's tricky wing play, had a chip shot cleared from the under cross-bar before the same combination came up with Crown's opening goal on 31 minutes. Floored by another crass defensive tackle, Booysen's delivery into the box was spot-on and Bisan powered in a header from six yards out. A nice return goal after the striker arrived back from a five-week visit to his Nigerian homeland on Thursday. Bisan found space a minute later but his chipped effort missed the far post by a whisker, and with the last kick of the first period, Booysen's low shot was fumbled and Ouk Sothy's follow-up struck the keeper's body and was cleared. 

Both teams made changes at the break and it was the African XI that came out with guns blazing. The visitors fielded a line-up containing many of the best foreign players in the C-League throughout the game with Dzarma Bata, the league's top scorer amongst their ranks. Svay Rieng's James Adekunle was booked for a scything tackle from behind on Bisan, and they grabbed an equaliser ten minutes after the restart. A right wing cross was headed in at the near post which keeper Yok Ary couldn't keep out, and a minute later, they went ahead after Jeongho Kim failed to halt Nelson Oladiji's charge down the flank. Crown recovered their composure and Momoh Sumaila's run past three players set up Bisan for a low drive which the keeper kept out. A minute later, an acrobatic save at the foot of the post from Kim's header at a corner signalled a warning bell for the visitors which they failed to heed. On 61 minutes, Booysen, who'd been a threat all game, delivered a second cross from a corner and Leng Makara directed his header into the corner of the net for a deserved equaliser. The third period failed to live up to the previous two and the only effort of note was a free-kick by the visitors that rebounded off the cross-bar to leave honours even.
PPCFC vs AASXI: Kochi (Ary 36), Pisa (Srin 36 (Pisa 71)), Sokheng (Da 36 (Sokheng 71)), Boris (Obadin 71), Obadin (Kim 36), Thierry (Suhana 36), Sothy (Sokthorn 71), Sokthorn (Makara 36 (Thierry 71)), Matnorotin (Sumaila 36), Booysen (sub 71 (Boran 92)), Bisan (Tola 71 (Matnorotin 90)). Subs not used: Usarphea, Charly, Polo. Bookings: None. MOTM: Booysen - his deliveries and exciting wing play are a joy. Goals: Bisan (32), Makara (61).
PPCFC line-up 2nd period, back row, LtoR; Srin, Bisan, Kim, Boris, Momoh, Ary. Front: Da, Makara, Suhana, Booysen, Sothy - click to enlarge

Monday, February 16, 2015

Football for Development

40 coaches on the latest course from PPCFC, SALT & World Vision
Phnom Penh Crown and SALT Academy have once again teamed up with World Vision Cambodia (WVC), this time to host a 5-day Football for Development Initiative Level 1 Youth Coaching Course at RSN Stadium, that began on Monday morning. 40 young football coaches from around the country will receive technical skills and life skills training over five days with the program vision of developing, nurturing and strengthening young people and the next generation of leaders across Cambodia. Crown have already partnered World Vision to produce 2 videos on combating child malnutrition and joined in the WVC national youth festival, as part of a joint program with AFC and Asian Football Development Project for the One Goal campaign to improve child nutrition and adopt healthy lifestyles. The Football for Development Initiative is an important pathway to improve young people in Cambodia and PPCFC is 100% behind this exciting new initiative, with club President Rithy Samnang at today's launch alongwith World Vision's National Director Jason Evans.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another double success

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Noeut, Ponvuthy, Sodavid, Senteang, Baraing, Samnang (capt). Front: Titchhy, Chhaya, Soksela, Sakrovy, Chanpolin - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 5 Bayon Wanderers 2 (Friendly).
At RSN this afternoon, the Crown Academy took on local expat team Bayon who lost to the senior team the previous week. It took until the 25th minute to open the scoring through Pov Ponvuthy, who placed his drive inside the far post. Crown added a second goal ten minutes later when Chhuot Senteang netted at the second attempt running onto an In Sodavid through ball. Three minutes after the half-time break, Mat Sakrovy skilfully grabbed a third when he nutmegged two players and blasted home his shot from 15 yards. After a series of play swaps, Yeu Muslim rolled in the fourth on 59 minutes after neat work from Mat Noron. Bayon scored a couple of goals on the break before Muslim missed a couple of sitters from close range. Ouk Sovann wrapped up the goalscoring with a smart finish a minute before the end, from Orn Chanpolin's pass, for a deserved victory.

PPCFC U-17s: Soksela, Noeut (Chanchav 52), Baraing (Chansopheak 52), Titchhy (Piphop 52), V Samnang, Chanpolin, Sodavid (Sovann 52), Chhaya (Noron 52), Sakrovy (Phearath 52), Ponvuthy (Muslim 52), Senteang (Rozak 52). Booking: Rozak. Goals: Ponvuthy (25), Senteang (35), Sakrovy (48), Muslim (59), Sovann (89). 
PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Samnang, N David, Chetra, Savey, Sovannaroth, Safy (capt). Front: Kakada, Rina, Piseth, Samel, Panha - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 6 Daniel FC 5 (Friendly).
It was all one-way traffic in the first-half at RSN Stadium this afternoon with Sin Kakada opening the scoring on 17 minutes after Ky Rina went close a couple of times. Kakada has developed a habit of scoring excellent goals and this solo effort was another one to add to the collection. Mao Piseth scored twice in as many minutes, the first coming on 26 minutes with a drive from the edge of the box. His second was a through ball from Kakada which he tried to chip over the keeper but fortunately netted at the second attempt. Kakada rounded off the half with a 25-yard effort that the keeper dived full length to keep out. The second half saw a goal glut and Daniel grabbed two quick-fire efforts before Tong Chanmony lashed in a 25-yard screamer on 57 minutes that flew into the top corner. Piseth rolled in his hat-trick on 70 minutes after a weak kick out from the keeper and Chanmony tapped home from a yard six minutes later from Piseth's low cross but Daniel never gave up and the match ended 6-5 in favour of the young Academy boys. Near the final whistle both San David and Chriv Sokundavann went very close with efforts.

PPCFC U-15s: S Samnang, Panha (Chanmony 46), Chetra (Punlork 61), Savey, Safy, Sovannaroth, Samel (Davann 61), Rina (Pisoth 61), Kakada (N David 79), N David (S David 46), Piseth (Panha 79). Goals: Kakada (17), Piseth 3 (26, 28, 70), Chanmony 2 (57, 76).

Crown add to their ranks

South Korean Jeongho Kim returns to join PPCFC
Phnom Penh Crown have announced the re-signing of the highly-popular utility South Korean player Jeongho Kim and are looking at other foreign acquisitions ahead of the new season, believed to be starting in late March of early April. The Federation are yet to confirm the start date or fixtures. The 23-year-old Kim was with the club last season and made a big impression despite his limited number of opportunities in the first-team, as Crown collected the Metfone Cambodia League Championship. He netted three league goals before he left the club in August and was training with Boeungket at one stage. Head coach Sam Schweingruber had this to say about the return of the highly-popular player: “Jeongho was an important player in our squad last season, even though he didn’t play enough. Whenever we gave him playing time, he impressed and showed his potential in training and in games. We first tried to sign him again last year but as Jeongho was asking for more playing time, we didn’t know we could agree to his demands. Finally, after the departure of Adriano and recent developments, we have agreed terms and hope that our Korean jewel will come to shine in 2015!" As a schoolboy Jeongho was a star striker for his school in Busan, earning a scholarship at the prestigious Kwangoon University and training spells overseas. His University playing career was cut short with a serious ankle injury but last season he showed his potential in a variety of positions, both in defence and as a striker, and that ability to play in a variety of positions, will be invaluable to Crown again this season.
Wing wizard Shane Booysen has spent the past year in Thailand
Involved in their friendly match with BBU on Saturday were four trialists, including the easily-recognisable, Momoh Degule Sumaila (aged 29), who has been a regular with Boeungket for the past three years. In fact the Nigerian midfielder made his debut for them against Crown, scoring, in June 2011. In goal for PPCFC was the experienced Jun Kochi, a 31-year-old Japanese import who has been playing in Thailand for Army, Sriracha and Pattaya after a career in his home country and a stint in Singapore with Albirex Niigata. Making quite an impression with two goals and some quick footwork on the wing was 26-year-old Shane Booysen who spent the past year in Thailand with Rbac Mittraphap and then BCC-Tero, after moving from his South African homeland where he appeared for Mamelodi Sundowns, Gleneden and iKapa Sporting academy. Also getting a start was striker Marcel Hugues Togbe (25), from Ivory Coast, who had spells in Oman with Al-Nadha and Al-Oruba before moving to Thailand with Nakhon Ratchasima. It will be up to coach Sam Schweingruber how he progresses with his foreign signings ahead of the new season. It's believed clubs will be allowed 5 foreigners, with three to play at any one time, though that small detail is not yet confirmed by the Federation, with Crown now confirming they have three on their books in Jeongho Kim, Odion Obadin and George Bisan.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

SVR win as expected

The Hun Sen Cup final went pretty much the way everyone expected with home team Svay Rieng winning, albeit at the death, 2-1 against Nagaworld, with a Nob Tola goal in the first minute of injury time deciding the tie. On the hour Naga's Sun Sophana levelled Prak Mony Udom's 1st-half opener, but Sun Sovannrithy was then red carded by referee Tuy Vichheka, which incurred the wrath of not only the Naga players but also Khmer football fans on Facebook, leaving the match official in doubt what they thought of him. Tola's late late winner gave the Military Police-backed team a third success in the country's only cup competition. Udom won the golden boot with 24 goals. The 2014 winners National Police came unstuck in the third-place play-off, going down 3-0 to TriAsia.

Booysen impresses

PPCFC vs BBU, back row, LtoR: Kochi (GK), Sokthorn, Thierry, Obadin, Boris, Togbe. Front Row: Sokheng, Pisa, Matnorotin, Suhana, Booysen - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 3 Build Bright Utd 1 (Friendly).
Crown offered up some excellent free-flowing football in the first-half of today's practice match at RSN Stadium and deservedly led 3-0 at the break. Coach Sam Schweingruber gave a start to three players on trial, with Shane Booysen and Marcel Togbe only arriving the day before, both having been with clubs in Thailand in recent months. Japanese goalkeeper Jun Kochi has been with the squad for a few days, also making the short hop-over the border. It was a lively start and South African Booysen wasted no time in showing his worth on the left flank. On seven minutes, he controlled the ball, swerved past two players and let fly with a shot that hit the net before the BBU keeper could move. One-nil and perhaps the best start a trialist could ask for. Sary Matnorotin's center missed Togbe's boot by inches and Va Sokthorn sent in a curling free-kick that was cleared off the goal-line before Crown struck their second on 15 minutes. Kochi's drop-kick was well-aimed and Togbe, an Ivorian striker, took on his marker and his cross to the far post was perfection as Matnorotin volleyed the ball home. Booysen's quick feet and speed off the mark was devastating and his pass to Sos Suhana, who moved the ball onto Sokthorn, saw the French-Khmer import sky his shot from fifteen yards out. More Booysen magic saw Sokthorn set up Matnorotin but his volley missed the target by inches. Crown were rampant at this stage with Bin Thierry firing wide from the edge of the area and Booysen missing the target from close range after Odion Obadin's header was fumbled by the keeper. With less than thirty minutes gone, Matnorotin was sent clear by Suhana but he screwed his chip shot horribly wide before Crown made four changes. Just before the break, a scuffle broke out with Rim Bunhieng squaring up to Kok Boris and then Crown had Ouk Sothy to thank for heading an effort off the line from a corner. On the stroke of half-time, Booysen registered his second, sprinting clear onto Jeongho Kim's long ball down the middle, and lobbing the ball into the net from 25 yards.

The second period started slowly before BBU were back in the game after a howler of a refereeing decision on 58 minutes. Thierry's free-kick was blocked by the goalscorer who was standing just five yards from the dead-ball, he played a one-two with a colleague and netted, with no-one quite believing the referee allowed the goal to stand. Thierry went close to cancelling out the mishap but his 20-yard effort was touched wide at the foot of the upright. More substitutions didn't help the flow of the game but Booysen struck a volley well over from Ngoy Srin's center and Togbe sent a free-kick inches over the bar after he was fouled. Booysen and Togbe combined neatly with the South African sending his skidding drive just wide before two very good saves denied Crown more goals. Firstly, Thourng Da broke into the box from Um Tola's pass only to see his shot saved and then Matnorotin set up Booysen, but his vicious shot was fisted clear and the game came to an end, with Crown victorious. 
PPCFC vs BBU: Kochi (Ary 46), C Pisa (Sothy 32 (Suhana 78), Sokheng (Da 46), Boris (Matnorotin 66), Obadin (Srin 32 (C Pisa 80), Thierry (Booysen 66), Suhana (Kim 32), Sokthorn (Obadin 66), Matnorotin (Makara 32 (S Pisa 66), Booysen (Sumaila 46), Togbe (Tola 83). Subs not used: Ursaphea, Chaly, Lavy, Polo. Booked: Obadin, Makara. MOTM: Booysen. Goals: Booysen 2 (7, 45), Matnorotin (15).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Crown win, Cambodia don't

Result: Phnom Penh Crown 7 Bayon Wanderers 2 (Friendly).
With six players on national team duty and the Academy playing live on TV in Svay Rieng, the remainder of the Crown senior team met local expat team Bayon Wanderers in a practice match at RSN Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Coach Sam Schweingruber gave playing time to some players who've been training with the team this week, including former Crown utility player Jeongho Kim and ex-Boeung Ket midfielder Momoh Degule Sumaila. Crown came out 7-2 victors with Leng Makara, Odion Obadin, Kim (with his first touch) and Long Boran scoring in the opening half. After the break, Sor Polo, Kim again and Chey Chetra netted with Ouk Sothy missing a penalty.
PPCFC Line-up: Ary (Ursaphea 46), C Pisa (Lavy 46), Sokheng (Chetra 46), Boris (Charly 60), Obadin, Sothy (Apollo 80), S Pisa (Makara 70), Makara (Kim 30), Boran, Momoh, Tola (Polo 46).

Cambodia NT, back row, LtoR: Chanrasmey, Rithy, Thierry, Piseth, Laboravy, Sereyroth. Front: Sovannrithy, Chhoeun, Suhana, Pancharong, Sokthorn - click to enlarge
Six Phnom Penh Crown players were part of the Cambodia National Team that lost 5-2 to South Korean club side Hwaseong FC on Saturday in a friendly at Svay Rieng. Bin Thierry, Sos Suhana and Va Sokthorn played in the opening 45 minutes, with the match all-square at 2-2 at half-time. Sun Sovannrithy and Khuon Laboravy, from a Suhana assist, netted for the national team, with the Korean leveller coming with the last kick of the first-half. In the second period, Sary Matnorotin, Ngoy Srin and Thourng Da were in the line-up as coach Lee Tae-Hoon changed all eleven players, but the game didn't go to plan with Da getting booked and Hwaseong looking dangerous against a young Cambodia line-up, that conceded further goals on the hour and then two more late strikes to a team from Korea's fourth tier of football. Not the result the large crowd were hoping to see from the national team, who have World Cup qualifying games coming up next month.
Postscript: Phnom Penh Crown's goalkeeper Sou Yaty was in the Cambodia national team line-up for the match having a few days earlier left the club to join Boeungket for a substantial fee. Yaty was the MCL Goalkeeper of the Year last season but was one of four players suspended by Crown after their pre-season trip to China. All four players including Kouch Sokumpheak, Khim Borey and Hong Pheng, have now left the club.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Nine in a row, and on TV

PPCFC U-15s, back row, LtoR: Samnang, Chanmony, Chetra, Savey, Sovannaroth, Safy (capt). Front: Kakada, Samel, S David, Piseth, Panha - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-15s 2 FFC Academy 0 (Friendly).
In this showpiece match before the Cambodia National Team game at Svay Rieng's new stadium, the younger Crown Academy boys were seeking to extend their winning record against the FFC Academy to nine matches and with the TV cameras at the game, it added some extra spice to the friendly encounter. After a few minutes to settle, the Crown Academy sparked as Mao Piseth robbed a defender of the ball but his low drive was gathered at the near post by FFC keeper Yi Bunheng. However, the keeper had no chance when Piseth lashed a half-volley past him for the opening goal on 15 minutes, after Tong Chanmony's cross was only partially headed clear. Sin Kakada was enjoying his number 10 role and sent a 25-yard shot wide before Piseth curled a free-kick from a tight angle, just inches wide of the far post. Another Piseth shot was charged down and Pich Sovannaroth poked his shot wide from just outside the box. Kakada and Sovannaroth both tried their luck from distance without success as the first-half came to an end with Crown in control. Six minutes after the break, Svang Samnang was twice called upon to deny Sean Sopheatra, who found space in the Crown penalty area and Tray Vichet miskicked when free at the far post. On the hour, Sem Dona's barge on Kakada gave referee Srei Vannareth no option but to award a penalty and substitute Nop David stepped up to cheekily score with a Panenka penalty kick, that he chipped down the center of the goal. A minute later Sovannaroth's pass found Piseth but his fierce drive was too high. Sovannaroth was enjoying lots of possession in an unfamiliar midfield role and sent in two more shots, though both missed the target. Crown captain Yue Safy blocked a break into the area by Lon Then, and Samnang was quick off the mark to rob Seang Chanthea as he broke clear of the offside trap. Despite the FFC's revival, Crown remained dangerous and Piseth's shot on the turn was held by Bunheng, who then tipped a 30-yard effort from the Crown striker onto the cross-bar. Moments later, Kakada's shot was deflected into the path of Piseth who blasted the ball wildly out of the stadium, before FFC spurned a great opportunity to reduce the deficit with six minutes left to play. Ky Rina's tackle on Chanthea saw him booked and a penalty kick awarded, but Vichet screwed the spot-kick wide of Samnang's right-hand post. Dona was fortunate to only see yellow for a knee-high tackle on Kakada as both teams tired in the hot sunshine and Samnang collected Son Somchhai's shot as the game came to an end. Crown maintained their 100% record against the FFC with their ninth success on the trot in the last twelve months, to make it clear who is the dominating force in junior Cambodian football.

PPCFC U-15s: Samnang, Samel (N David 46), Chetra, Safy, Savey, S David (Punlork 62), Sovannaroth (Pisoth 76), Chanmony (Davann 89), Panha (Rina 46), Kakada, Piseth. Subs not used: Rafat. Bookings: Chanmony, Rina. MOTM: Piseth - always dangerous. Goals: Piseth (15), N David (60 penalty).
The FFC Academy starting XI, lost their 9th consecutive match to PPCFC

Friday, February 6, 2015

Handed a lesson

PPCFC U-17s, back row, LtoR: Sakrovy, Senteang, Soksela, Rozak, Titchhy, V Samnang (capt). Front: Piphop, Ponvuthy, Noron, Chansopheak, Baraing - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown Academy U-17s 0 Nagaworld 8 (Friendly).
The Crown Academy U-17s were on the wrong end of a scoreline that they often inflict on other teams when they met the Nagaworld first-team at RSN this afternoon. The youngsters enjoyed good spells at the beginning of both halves but were made to pay for some sloppy defending against the semi-finalists in the Hun Sen Cup. Goalkeeper Keo Soksela was called upon to keep out a shot from Prak Chanratana early on, whilst Mat Sakrovy sent a shot from distance over the bar and Men Piphop kicked air instead of the ball, just twelve yards out, from Mat Noron's center. Naga took the lead on 23 minutes as Soksela dallied with the ball at his feet, lost possession and was made to pay with the first goal. Two minutes later Chhim Sambo broke from his own half after a Crown corner was cleared, sprinted past Sraing Titchhy and neatly slotted it past Soksela as he came off his line. Two goals in as many minutes. Naga added a third just four minutes later when captain Vat Samnang was dispossessed in his own area and paid the price for not clearing his lines. Soksela dived full length to pull off a good save and Naga hit the woodwork before they struck the fourth, five minutes from the break, as the Crown defence parted like the Red Sea and Naga went in four goals to the good.

Coach Bouy Dary made six changes at the break and Naga brought on recently departed Khim Borey against his old club. As in the first-half, the Academy held their own for the opening thirty minutes of the half with Kim Chhaya having his blast blocked by Om Thavrak after some neat one-touch build-up play. Then Long Phearath ventured forward and weaved past the last man, only for his shot to be blocked by the Naga goalkeeper. On 75 minutes, Naga made seven changes of their own and the fresh faces made light work of the tiring Crown defenders. Barry Lelouma rolled in number five a minute later, former Crown striker Baldwin Ngwa scored a brace on 80 and 84 minutes, using his strength top power his way through, and Lelouma robbed Vat Samnang for Naga's 8th goal, two minutes into stoppage time. A final scoreline that the Academy U-17s will not want to see repeated anytime soon. Injuries kept out Ouk Sovann, Suon Noeut and Kung Chanvuthy.
PPCFC U-17s: Soksela, Chansopheak (Chhaya 46), Baraing (Rozak 82), V Samnang (capt), Titchhy (Chanchav 46 (Senteang 72)), Sakrovy, Rozak (Chanpolin 46), Piphop (Phearath 46), Noron (Sodavid 46), Ponvuthy, Senteang (Muslim 46).

Monday, February 2, 2015

Results and community involvement

PPCFC U-17s vs SVR, back row, LtoR: Chanpolin, Sakrovy, V Samnang, Chanchav, S Samnang, Rozak. Front: Noeut, Noron, Ponvuthy, Muslim, Baraing - click to enlarge
Saturday 31 January 2015: Result: PPCFC Academy U-17s 2 Svay Rieng U-19s 1 (Friendly).
Ouk Sovann produced another brilliant free-kick three minutes from the end of a match which the Crown Academy U-17s dominated but couldn’t find the killer touch until Sovann’s moment of top quality. His 20 yard dead-ball, awarded for a foul on In Sodavid, curled over the wall and into the top corner for yet another stunning goal from the defender, who was a half-time replacement. Orn Chanpolin was off target with the first goal attempt and then Yeu Muslim followed that with a rasping low drive that was pushed aside by the SVR keeper. Chanpolin's next attempt was held easily enough before Mat Sakrovy will kick himself for fluffing an easy chance, set up by Pov Ponvuthy. Vat Samnang sent a free-kick a few feet wide, before Crown opened the scoring with just two minutes of the first-half remaining. Sakrovy's 25-yard effort wasn't held by the keeper and Muslim was on hand to turn the ball into the unguarded net. With six changes to the Crown line-up at the break, they reestablished their grip on the game as Sodavid's fizzer was held at the second attempt and Muslim's close-range effort was blocked by the keeper's body from Sodavid's bye-line pull-back. Sodavid then had another edge of the box shot pushed aside by the busy man between the sticks. Against the run of play, Svay Rieng levelled on 59 minutes as Crown failed to clear the danger, though that merely sparked the home team in to renewed efforts to win the match. Muslim met Sodavid's bye-line cross perfectly but couldn't keep his header under the bar and Sakrovy fed Suon Noeut and he by-passed the last defender only to have his shot saved by the keeper.
With the clock ticking, up-stepped Sovann to strike his glorious winner, and there was still time for Noeut to get a touch to a Sakrovy cross at the far post, but it went wide of the target. Nevertheless, a well-deserved victory for the Crown Academy against their biggest foes. 
PPCFC U-17s: S Samnang, Noeut (Sodavid 46), Baraing (Chansopheak 46), V Samnang (Noeut 69), Chanchav (Sovann 46), Rozak (Piphop 46), Chanpolin, Sakrovy, Ponvuthy (Titchhy 46), Noron (Phearath 46), Muslim. MOTM: Muslim. Goals: Muslim (43), Sovann (88).

Sunday 1 February 2015: Result: PPCFC Academy U-15s 9 Chamkarmon 6 (Friendly).
Sunday’s practice game at RSN Stadium saw goals galore as the Academy U-15s took on the adult team from Chamkarmon. Sin Kakada netted a hat-trick and the other Crown scorers were Chriv Sokundavann 2, Svang Samnang 2 and 1 each for Nop David and Tong Chanmony. Next Saturday, the U-15s travel to Svay Rieng to play the Federation Academy.
The PPCFC U-14s get their 3rd place medals in Singapore

U-14s finish 3rd in Singapore Soccer Sixes
The PPCFC U-14 boys returned home from Singapore with their medals for finishing in 3rd place in the youth tournament of the Singapore Soccer Sixes. Whilst we didn’t recapture the trophy we have won for the two previous years, the boys put up a strong showing and did very well. Mit Samel top-scored with 8 goals. Here are their results:
vs Muhamadiyah Welfare (Singapore) – Won 5-0 (Samel 2, Makara 1, Pisoth 2)
vs Bali Sports Foundation – Won 6-1 (Makara 1, Samel 1, Darapich 1, Pisoth 2, Rina 1)
vs Youth Football Phuket (Thailand) – Lost 2-4 (Pisoth 1, Samel 1)
vs Muhamadiyah Welfare (Singapore) Semi-Final – Lost 3-6 (Samel 1, Pisoth 1, Rina 1).
vs Bali Sports Foundation Third Place play-off – Won 3-0 (Samel 3).

In Sodavid and his all-girl team at Andong

The Phnom Penh Crown Academy players and coaches spent a recent Saturday afternoon in the relocation village of Andong, about 20kms outside of Phnom Penh, putting on a mini-football festival with the Development for People of Cambodia organisation and their 220 children, who had a fabulous time. It was a fun afternoon for everyone, the appetite for exercise and football amongst the children, who ranged from 6-13, was clearly evident and we will be returning to Andong in the near future. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Crown knocked out

PPCFC vs SVR, back row, LtoR: Srin, Matnorotin, Pisa, Sokthorn, Thierry, Boris (capt). Front: Ary, Suhana, Sokheng, Makara, Sothy - click to enlarge
Result: Phnom Penh Crown 1 Svay Rieng 4 (Hun Sen Cup Q-F).
Phnom Penh Crown were knocked out of the Hun Sen Cup at the home of Svay Rieng, in the quarter-finals, the same stage they exited the competition a year earlier. They travelled the 140kms to the provincial capital with a fully-fit squad of Khmer players and coach Sam Schweingruber opted for a striking duo of Bin Thierry and Va Sokthorn against the competition favourites, Svay Rieng. In front of a large home following, Prak Mony Udom tried his luck from 20 yards out by Yok Ary caught the free-kick comfortably. Another Udom free-kick saw Ary punch clear only to be clattered by Nob Tola after the ball had gone, with no action taken by referee Lim Buntheoun. Crown's first opening came on 16 minutes as Sos Suhana sent Leng Makara surging forward but his shot was held comfortably low down by Aim Sovannarath. Sary Matnorotin joined Chhom Pisa in the referee's notebook with less than twenty minutes played as Buntheoun tried to unnecessarily stamp his authority on the tie. Tola sent a near post header wide of the mark for the home team and Thierry headed down for Sokthorn, only for his shot to blaze high and wide. On 26 minutes Udom's pace undid the Crown back-line and as Ary came out to challenge, the SVR striker slipped past him and rolled the ball into an unguarded net for the opening goal. Ngoy Srin got on the end of a Thierry free-kick but headed wide and Matnorotin fired a shot inches wide from Touch Sokheng's center. As Crown pressed, Sokheng blasted a shot high and Matnorotin had two opportunities to level but failed. The first arrived from Leng Makara's cross but he placed his shot wide, and then Thierry's pass found him in the box but he waited too long to pull the trigger and his shot was blocked. With SVR nerves fraying, keeper Sovannarath was cautioned for an altercation with Srin and from the resulting corner, Ouk Sothy headed onto the top of the net to leave SVR with a slender lead at the break.

Crown stopper Ary dived full length to fingertip a drive from Udom around the post seven minutes after the restart and moments later, Sovannarath was writhing around in agony after an innocuous challenge by Makara. A hopeful cross was missed by two defenders though Udom sent his finish a long way clear of the cross-bar, and then Srin sent a header too high from Thierry's free-kick. Crown found themselves two-goals behind on 69 minutes as Srin dallied on the ball just inside the SVR half, Udom robbed him and sprinted clear to finish with precision. It was the turning point of the match. Ten minutes later, Tola turned Pisa inside out in the box and drove a third past Ary and a minute later, Udom set up Phany Rotha and he calmly slid the ball inside the far post for two SVR goals in as many minutes. Game effectively over though Crown refused to lie down and finished strongly, albeit too late to rescue the tie. Long Boran's blast from Matnorotin's center was tipped over acrobatically by Sovannarath, and Sokthorn's low drive was held at the second attempt. In the first minute of stoppage time, Matnorotin found the run of Srin and his cross-shot was met by a lurking Um Tola for a tap-in to give Crown a consolation goal. Moments later, Tola fed Boran but his fierce strike was inches too high as the final whistle blew on Crown's hopes of cup success this season. Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his verdict: "In the 1st half we counted we had 7 shots, they had five, but we were not brave enough, not doing what we asked them to do in the box, way too many touches and not brave enough to try to score. To concede the 1st goal was not acceptable, but up front we needed to do better. We had a plan for the 2nd half, we had a few half chances before we conceded again. The 2nd goal we gave away was unacceptable. I am very angry with the way we defended, but we have to look forward and try to sort it out.".
PPCFC vs SVR: Ary, Pisa, Sokheng, Boris, Srin, Sothy, Suhana, Matnorotin, Makara (Boran 74), Thierry (Tola 84), Sokthorn. Subs not used: Usarphea, Chetra, Lavy, Charly, Da, Polo. Bookings: Pisa, Matnorotin. SVR 4 bookings. MOTM: Matnorotin. Goal: Tola (90+1). Referee: Lim Bunthoeun.