Monday, May 26, 2008

Apathy on and off the pitch

It's half-time and the storm clouds are gathering above the Olympic Stadium
I finally got to see a game of football in Cambodia. And what a disappointment it was. I chose to kick-off my football spectating by seeing the Cambodian national team no less, take on Nepal at Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium this afternoon. And to be honest the quality of football, particularly in the final third of the pitch, was dire. Nepal, not exactly one of the world's mighty footballing nations, scored in the first-half and were content to sit on their 1-goal lead and Cambodia were simply too poor and too inept to break them down. The defeat meant that it was Nepal who progress into the next round of the AFC Challenge Cup for Emerging Nations, whilst Cambodia have to settle for a meaningless second game again Macau on Wednesday. In addition, the support in the open-to-the-elements stadium was apathetic to say the least. The largest cheer of the day came when a dog wandered onto the pitch. It was that sort of crowd. I must admit I was thoroughly deflated by the whole experience, and I should've sussed it wasn't going to be a great spectacle when I only had to hand over a dollar for entry into the game. Watching the Cambodian national team at the disabled Volleyball World Finals a few months ago was streets ahead of watching the football team in terms of quality, skill, passion and excitement. The Cambodian team manager, please take note.
Half-time refreshments include a bag of crickets
Cambodia in red, almost lost in the emptiness of the Olympic Stadium


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Andy! this was by far the saddest blog you have ever posted.
Please put on your soccer shoes again and join the expat's team ASAP! - Karlheinz

May 27, 2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

hahahhaha, yes it wasn't very positive and upbeat was it! i was just so disappointed with the standard and to be frank, the passion of both the players and the spectators.
In England, both players and fans wear their heart on their sleeve and you can feel the passion for the game, the desire to win, at even the lowest standard clubs. When i played the game too, I demanded only the best from myself and my team and if I didn't get it, I let everyone know. I only played at a local club standard but I loved to play and moreso I loved to win. None of this 'taking part' nonsense, it was win or nothing for me.
And quite simply there is no better feeling than scoring goals, I thrived on it, I was good at it too at my low level, and it meant that I loved my football, often playing twice on a weekend and training in midweek. I was even competitive at the training sessions. Sad, but true.
So to see the drab and inept performance by both sides yesterday was the simple realization that not everyone feels as passionate about the game as I do. Added to that I was still gutted by Leeds United's loss in the play-off final the previous day to Doncaster of all teams. For goodness sake, Leeds and Doncaster should never even be in the same division let alone on the same park! And we lost....the world has turned upside down!

May 27, 2008 2:04 PM  

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