Friday, March 5, 2010

Reggae on film

A diversion from the norm tonight with a visit to Meta House, soon to move to new premises I might add, to watch a film about reggae. I haven't mentioned the Meta House schedule for this month as there isn't much that grabs my attention (aside from The Tenth Dancer on Sunday 28th) except this 1977 hour-long documentary called Roots Rock Reggae, which begins at 7pm. I was a big reggae fan in the 70s and 80s (I still am), primarily in awe of Steel Pulse, who I saw at Cheltenham Town Hall in 1978 and I was hooked, but also of iconic figures such as Bob Marley, and of course British reggae bands like Aswad, Black Roots and The Natural-Ites. There are many more, too numerous to mention. Most of my reggae collection is on vinyl, housed in cardboard boxes in my spare bedroom. Does anyone have access to a spare vinyl record-player?
Tomorrow and Sunday, I'll be at Olympic Stadium to catch the football. Tomorrow is the 3rd place play-off in the Hun Sen Cup between Naga and Preah Khan, whilst the final will happen on Sunday at 3pm between Phnom Penh Crown and the Army. Come on the boys with the big boots and guns - hopefully not on the pitch of course. And on Sunday night at the FCC, is the book launch for Carrying Cambodia, a new photographic essay on the loads you find being transported along Cambodia's roads. I often see the most ridiculously overloaded motos, trucks and trailers but never seem to have my camera with me to record it. Obviously Conor Wall and Hans Kemp did.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The passion of the cup

This will be the last football report on this blog. I've created a separate football blog - Kingdom of football - where you will find everything of a football nature after today. And what a day to end it on. The Hun Sen Cup final next week will be between Phnom Penh Crown and the National Defense Ministry after those two teams came out on top in today's semi-finals. The Army team had the easier of the semis, beating Preah Khan Reach 1-nil, albeit against the odds and the formbook. However, the real drama of the day came about in the afternoon's first match between Crown and their big rivals, Naga Corp. This match had just about everything you could ask for in a cup tie. Passion, often mistimed, was evident and that was clear at the card card which reached two reds and 14 yellows. The goals count was just as high with Crown taking a 3-nil lead at half-time with a 3-goal splurge in just seven minutes. Naga, who'd threatened a walk-off just before the interval, came back strongly and pulled back the deficit, the game finishing 3- 3 at full-time, with the Naga equaliser coming from the penalty spot with five minutes to go. In extra time they blew the chance of a win by failing from the penalty spot with almost the last kick of the game and that meant a penalty shoot-out. It was 3-3 after the first five spot-kicks and onto sudden death. The drama continued to unfold when Teab Vatanak had to retake his penalty (he'd missed in extra time), which was saved and then Phuong Narong stepped up to fire Crown into the final before bursting into floods of tears. It was time for everyone to draw a huge breath of air. This game was certainly a glorious advert for the good, and bad, of Cambodian football. More later, over at Kingdom of football, after I've had a lie down in a darkened room.


Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm at a crossroads. For a long while I've resisted the urge to separate my daily blog postings from my football-related posts. Afterall they are part of my life here in Cambodia, even if many people switch off and scroll straight past my football output. However, I do understand the anti-football comments I receive and have been wrestling with the decision about whether to separate them for a while now. And I still can't decide (though I'm edging towards a 2nd blog solely for football). We're not yet into the full flow of the Cambodian football season, just a bunch of cup ties before the season starts properly in a few weeks time, so recent reports have been sporadic and usually at the weekends. Tomorrow for example, the Hun Sen Cup semi-finals will take place at Olympic Stadium with Phnom Penh Crown versus Naga and National Defense Ministry meeting Preah Khan Reach. I'll blog the results, as well as write them up for the Phnom Penh Post, and then make a final decision as to whether I should set up a separate football blog. As for the cup finalists, I'm in favour of a Naga versus National Defense final but I have an inkling that Preah Khan will prove too strong for the Army team in the 2nd of tomorrow's semis.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Press talk

Today's Cambodian football reports in the PPPost
Today's Phnom Penh Post carries my match reports from the weekend Hun Sen Cup ties played at Olympic Stadium. The semi-finals will be played this coming Saturday. Reports here and here.

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An all-military affair

2nd half hat-trick hero Sin Dalin of Ministry of National Defense
Sunday's quarter-final Hun Sen Cup ties also went with the formbook and the semi-final next week will see the Army lining up to face the Military Police team after the Ministry of National Defense (MND) put the upstarts from Rithisen to the sword, winning 9-1, whilst Preah Khan Reach (PKR) saw off the challenge from Khemara to win 3-nil. Truckloads of fans from Kompong Chhnang helped boost the crowd at Olympic Stadium but they went home much quieter after MND did a professional job on the last of the provincial teams in the competition. But it could've been a different story if the referee hadn't disallowed an early Rithisen goal, that sailed in from the wing but was cancelled out by the the linesman flagging for offside. Baffling. Khim Borey and two goals from Thong Oudom gave MND a 3-0 interval lead. Two subs then made their mark, both getting hat-tricks. Sin Dalin netted his late in the game hat-trick in the space of five frantic minutes, whilst Phuong Soksana completed his trio in injury time. Rithisen's consolation was a great solo effort from Ky Rohan.
In the battle of the big guns, PKR did just enough to dampen Khemara's spirits, with Sam El Nasa getting their noses in front in the 1st half. Sub Sok Raksmey scored a 2nd just three minutes after entering the fray and then El Nasa stuck away a penalty late on to complete the 3-o win. Khemara can feel ashamed with their 2nd half showing. Sok Pheng, who has returned to the game after a year on the touchlines, will be seeing more bench time as he was sent off for a second bookable late challenge on 57 minutes. Their skipper Kuoch Sokumpheak was lucky to only get a yellow card for a two-footed lunge before Chhun Kirivatharo received a straight red for blatantly kicking an opponent. They should've also lost goalkeeper Mak Theara when he fly-hacked Prak Mony Udom but the referee and his assistant were the only two who didn't see the incident. It was Theara who scorpion-kicked an opponent a couple of weeks ago and this guy is going to hurt someone soon. He needs to be stopped. And if I was a striker with an opposong team I would get my challenge in first.
Another hat-trick hero Phuong Soksana, in MND's 9-1 success over Rithisen
The Defense Ministry meant business from the kick-off and thrashed Rithisen 9-1
Preah Khan Reach did enough to qualify for the semis, beating Khemara 3-0
Mak Theara, goalkeeper with Khemara, is treading a fine line with two shocking challenges on opponents in recent matches


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Casino teams go through

Phnom Penh Crown looking mean and moody before beating Wat Phnom 5-1 though I don't know why the guys in the front row have to place their hand on their teammates upper thigh - very weird
Now for a look at yesterday's Hun Sen Cup quarter-finals where Phnom Penh Crown dominated their game against Wat Phnom from start to finish, winning 5-1. Crown striker Heng Sokly should've netted a hatful. Instead, he rolled a couple of chances agonizingly wide early doors before finally finishing with some aplomb late on. Crown's national team centre-half Tieng Tiny netted twice in the 1st half, one a delicious curling free-kick from the edge of the box and his 2nd, a penalty after Chan Chhaya had fallen over theatrically when challenged by Wat Phnom's keeper Pov Reaksa. In between, Wat Phnom levelled when Crown's Peng Bunchhay, who looked a bag of nerves throughout the game, spilled a routine catch from a corner at the feet of Ry Phearoeun, who rifled home. After the break, Hong Ratana dived full-length to head in a spectacular effort and Srey Veasna and Heng Sokly completed the rout. Referee Yien Kivatanak had a quiet second game in the middle, after his dramatic debut a couple of weeks ago when he sent off 4 Kirivong players.
The Naga trio of Teab Vatanak, Sun Sovannrithy and Om Thavrak stood out in their 6-0 demolishion of Build Bright United. Vatanak netted a 4-goal haul in the 2nd half, Sun Sovannrithy, in his new unfamiliar striking role, scored two and set up two more, whilst Om Thavrak kept Naga in the game in the 1st half when BBU briefly flourished. It was a good day for Vatanak, who has overcome a career-threatening knee injury and showed his goal-poaching instincts to sink BBU and give Naga a mouthwatering semi-final match-up with fellow-casino sponsored Crown (and a repeat of last year's final).
Referee Yien Kivatanak had a good day at the office, only booking 2 players, in his 2nd match in the middle. Here he gets the toss-up right as well.
Naga Corp in a kit I've never seen before, prior to their 6-0 win over BBU. Teab Vatanak (10) netted 4 goals.
Continuing my series of 'Great toss-ups of the Weekend' - this one captures that particular moment of joy between the captains of BBU and Naga



The weekend has been very hectic so far, with no time to update my blog until later tonight. The first two QFs of the Hun Sen Cup went to form yesterday, with Phnom Penh Crown and Naga waltzing through to the semis with easy wins over Wat Phnom (5-1) and BBU (6-0) respectively. More from these games later. Last night it was out for a very pleasant meal, this morning it was out shopping at Olympic market and elsewhere and this afternoon, back that way for the last of the cup quarter-finals. No peace for the wicked.
Okay, the wicked have a few minutes on their hands to bring you the latest from today's football at the Olympic Stadium. Rithisen brought a few truckloads of fans from Kompong Chhnang but they went home thoroughly dejected after Ministry of National Defence gave them a footballing lesson, winning 9-1. So no more cup shocks this year. In the second game of the afternoon, Preah Khan proved too strong for Khemara, winning 3-nil, though Keila did have two players sent off. But they have only themselves to blame for the self-implosion.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weekend QFs

Will Rithisen be celebrating another giant-killing act this weekend?
Football takes precedence this coming weekend with 4 games in 2 days, with matches kicking off at 2pm and 4.45pm both days at the Olympic Stadium. It's the quarter-finals of the Hun Sen Cup, the precursor to the new Cambodian Premier League and it'll be seven of the big teams and one of the provincial qualifiers battling it out.
Saturday will see Phnom Penh Crown taking on Wat Phnom, formerly Spark. Without their African contingent (only Khmers can play in the Hun Sen Cup this term) Wat Phnom will struggle, and I expect Crown to get through this tie with some degree of comfort. The second game of the afternoon will pitch Naga against Build Bright, with Naga getting the nod from me. They were last year's beaten cup finalists, losing 1-nil to Crown, but gained revenge by lifting the League Championship.
Sunday will be a good battle between the underdogs Rithisen from Kompong Chhnang, who'll meet up with National Defense, who got through by the skin of their teeth against Koh Kong on penalties in the last round. Rithisen have already claimed the scalp of CPL side Kirivong in a turbulent game that saw 4 red cards, all shown to Kirivong players. This will be a tight game and may just give us another cup upset. However if the army team have Nov Soseila in their starting ranks, back after injury, they will win. The final tie of the QFs will be between the big boys of Preah Khan Reach and Khemara Keila. PKR should have just enough but with Kuoch Sokumpheak in their ranks, Khemara have their lucky talisman back after suspension and the scorer of 18 goals in the qualifiers. I'm still mystified that in the final qualifying game he netted no less than ten goals and still managed to get himself sent off. Daft bugger but still the best homegrown player bar none.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Press talk

You can read my report on Saturday's Hun Sen Cup ties online at the Phnom Penh Post later today. Reports.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday's results

Sophal Udom, Khemara's hat-trick hero against Prek Pra Keila
Sunday saw the last two Hun Sen Cup final 16 ties with both Khemara and Preah Khan Reach easing through with 5-0 victories. They'll now face each other in the QF's in two weeks time. Prek Pra Keila faced the more famous Keila in the shape of Khemara and despite the vocal support of their mainly Muslim supporters, it was Khemara who drew first blood just before half time. Sophal Udom netted before and after the interval and again in injury time to claim a hat-trick, with Ty Bunvicheth netted a couple of goals in between. Even without the suspended Kuoch Sokumpheak, Khemara were way too strong for the CPL newcomers. I must highlight one serious moment when Khemara keeper Mak Theara struck an opponent with a scorpion kick as he collected the ball. The same thing happened in one of yesterday's games. If the goalkeeper collects the ball and in doing so, brings both of his legs over his back and into the body of an opponent, it's a penalty. The referees have got to cut this out before someone gets badly injured. So far they've taken no action at all.

In the second game, unfortunately it was spoiled as a spectacle when on 12 minutes referee Neang Sorithya totally over-reacted to a challenge by Oddar Meanchey's Sob Ravy and couldn't wait to wave the red card. A really crap decision which gave the underdogs a mountain to climb. They couldn't overcome the setback though Preah Khan didn't really settle the tie until late on, though in truth they missed a hatful. With 7 national players in their line-up, PKR should've racked up a cricket score. Heang Saravuth netted twice but missed a sitter from a yard and had another three ruled out for offside. Other goals went to Sam El Nasa, Tum Saray and Khuon Laboravy.
Khemara Keila line up before today's game
Prek Pra Keila receive last minute instructions from the match referee
Preah Khan Reach, easy 5-0 winners against Oddar Meanchey
Heang Saravuth chipped in with 2 goals against Oddar Meanchey for PKR


Saturday's results

The victorious Rithisen squad line up after their giant-killing success over Kirivong
This weekend saw the final matches of the Hun Sen Cup last 16 and Saturday at Olympic Stadium saw the first real cup upset with underdogs Rithisen, from Kompong Chhnang, pulling off a 4-2 win over a demoralized Kirivong side, who had only themselves to blame though debutant referee Yien Kivatanak had a big say in the result too. The match attracted a crowd of 6,000 as well as the sweltering heat, a 2pm kick-off is really tough on the two sides. It wasn't a physical encounter but the referee felt it necessary to book 9 players, send off 4 from Kirivong and also brandish the red card to two others, but changed his mind and let them stay on the field. An incredible performance from the man in the middle. Long gone are the days when the referee was anonymous. Kirivong twice led, through Hok Sochivorn's thunderous free kick and a Phan Vanda penalty. Rithisen scored through skipper Ouk Channarith and then in time added on, netted the equalizer via Keo Chandara to take the game into extra time. By this time, Kirivong were down to 9 men with Hang Chantrea and Sochivorn getting red cards. Rithisen made their advantage tell in extra time with goals from Pes Matsoum and Chandara's second. Kirivong continued to implode and lost Ek Vannak and Yem Botra to early baths as Rithisen celebrated a memorable cup upset.

Meeting Rithisen in the quarter-finals will be Ministry of National Defense. Despite a really plucky and gutsy performance from Koh Kong, which saw the game goalless for 90 minutes and another 30 minutes extra time, with little in the way of goalmouth action, it was MND who progressed. With the game going into penalty kicks, MND won 4-3 thanks to successful penalties from Nov Soseila, Thong Oudom, Khek Khemarin and goalkeeper Samreth Seiha, who saved two spot-kicks before firing in his penalty and sending his teammates into raptures. Koh Kong's scorers were Ung Sopheak, Chhin Meng Srieng and Leng Makra.
2 goal Rithisen hero Keo Chandara (19) with Tam Yusos (16)
The self-imploding Kirivong team finished with 7 players on the pitch
Rithisen line up before their cup tie against Kirivong
The Ministry of Defense line up to face plucky Koh Kong, whom they beat on penalties


Winning performance

Samreth Seiha takes a moment after being mobbed by his colleagues for his match-winning performance
If you read my football blog postings, you'll know that Samreth Seiha takes my vote as Cambodia's number 1 goalkeeper. In the past year he's been vying with Sou Yaty for the green jersey, both at club, Ministry of National Defense (MND), and at international level for the U23 and full teams. He's a great shot stopper and Saturday proved he's no slouch when it comes to keeping a cool head under pressure when he took the honours in the penalty shoot-out stage of MND's Hun Sen Cup tie with plucky Koh Kong. It was all square, and goalless, after 90 minutes, still deadlocked after 30 minutes of extra time, hence the penalties. Seiha saved one of the first five regulation spot-kicks, with the score at 3-3. He then palmed away another before grabbing the ball, turning quickly and despatched his penalty kick in the corner of the net and wheeled away in delight before being mobbed by his teammates. A double hero. It doesn't get much better than that. And the first man to hug him was his rival, and pal, Sou Yaty.
Still on the football front, although Kuoch Sokumpheak didn't make the grade in Indonesia during a less than well organized trial last week, we will have a Cambodian player playing abroad this season. It's Phnom Penh Crown's left-winger and national player Chan Rithy, who has signed on for the Royal Thai Army team, who were promoted to the Thai Premier League at the end of last season. He was due to make his debut in their Queen's Cup game yesterday. Rithy, now 27, has been with Crown for the last four years after plying his trade with Khemara and the Cambodian Army teams before that. Good luck to Rithy, who has been one of the outstanding players in the CPL for a few years now.
I took a tuk tuk out to the airport early Saturday morning to deliver Ting for her flight back to Taiwan, via Saigon. She had a great time, her words not mine, and made some friends whether it be the young girls at Tonle Bati or the silk weavers on Koh Dach, so I'm sure she'll be back sometime in the future. Ting is a nurse in Taiwan and left her job to come to Cambodia and then she's off to southern India in a few weeks, her sixth trip there in the last couple of years. Nurses are always in demand she tells me so she shouldn't have a problem getting a job again once her current round of country-hopping comes to an end.
Ting says her goodbyes at the airport

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Under pressure

A day to forget for match referee Yien Kivatanak
It's the weekend and that means it's football at the Olympic Stadium here in Phnom Penh. Normally I prefer to talk about the matches, the results and the players but occasionally it's the man in the middle who grabs the headlines and all the attention. Referee Yien Kivatanak did just that today, whilst making his debut as a Cambodian referee. I'm sure it's a game he will want to forget, the look on his face towards the end of the game was one where he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole. The image of a rabbit caught in the full beam headlights of a truck, springs to mind. I've seen him running the line lots of times in last season's CPL fixtures but taking charge of your first match is a whole different ball game, as he soon found out. For the record, and in a game where serious fouls were few and far between, he managed to book 9 players, he sent off no less than 4 players from the Kirivong team with 4 straight red cards and also brandished two additional red cards, but quickly changed his mind and allowed those two players to stay on the pitch. To be honest, there was so much going on that I need to see a reply of the game just to check my facts. It was a cup tie in the Hun Sen Cup and the eventual outcome, after extra time, was a 4-2 giant-killing win by the Rithisen team from Kompong Chhnang against a self-imploding Kirivong Sok Sen Chey team, that finished the match with seven players. Actually it was six players (and therefore making the game technically void) as one of the Kirivong players walked off the pitch and threw his shirt down in disgust, though the referee didn't notice he'd left the pitch. If he had he would've had to abandon the game. But by that time, he'd completely lost the plot. Certainly a debut refereeing performance to remember, or forget, depending on who you are.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Withdrawal symptoms

Standing in front of the famous Reclining Vishnu lintel at Phnom Rung in Isaan, and I'm looking a little portly I might add - time for some exercise
Where's the temple stuff? An email arrived in my in-basket today asking exactly that, as they were seemingly getting withdrawal symptoms due to the lack of temple coverage in recent weeks. To be honest I've been so busy finishing my book that I've had little spare time to load photos from my temple visits in Isaan, Angkor, Banteay Chhmar and beyond. They are all still in the pipeline. Never fear I will get to them, I promise. If you believe that, you'll believe anything. No, seriously, I will do it. Here's a photo by way of an apology.
My current visitor Ting will depart back home to Taiwan on Saturday morning. She's been a real trooper, getting out and about under her own steam whilst I've been stuck in the office. Today she was off to Koh Dach to see the silk weavers after spending the last few days up in Siem Reap. No complaints, she's just got out and done her own thing. Bless her.
With her departure, she'll be cock-a-hoop to miss the weekend's football, which I subjected her to last weekend. The Hun Sen Cup last 16 round will be completed with a few more of the big boys playing tomorrow and Sunday. I'm hoping Nov Soseila will be back on the pitch for the Defense Ministry tomorrow as he's always a joy to watch, though an injury he got for the Cambodian national team a couple of weeks ago may not have cleared up. Sunday will see Khemara and Preah Khan Reach in action, with all the big names from the CPL expected to sail through to the quarter-finals. Talking of football, I'm coming to the end of an engrossing fictional look at the Asian football scene by Neil Humphreys and his novel Match Fixer. Football, sex, drugs, gangsters and match-fixing in Singapore are at the heart of this rattling good read. Definitely recommended.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Hatful of goals

Reigning League Champions Naga Corp progressed at the expense of Chhma Khmao
Sunday's Hun Sen Cup games served up a hatful of goals and kept the fans entertained. Naga saw off the CPL newcomers Chhma Khmao 6-2 much to the disappointment of the Olympic crowd who'd favoured the underdogs from Svay Rieng. In the first match, Build Bright United showed their class with a 7-0 win over Prey Veng, to put the provincial upstarts firmly in their place.
BBU skipper Prum Puthsethy netted a hat-trick in his team's 7-0 demolition of Prey Veng
The all-Khmer BBU line-up that faced Prey Veng
Naga were not only up against the Black Cats of Svay Rieng but also the crowd, who showed their pleasure when the CPL new boys opened the scoring through the busy Mak Chhordaravuth. They were deathly quiet when Naga's Sun Sovannrithy rifled home the equaliser a few minutes later. Sovannrithy was playing in an unfamiliar striking role though spent most of the time on the floor, being upended constantly by the Svay Rieng defenders. A minute later he was floored again, this time by keeper Pen Socheat, who had the last laugh when he saved Teab Vathanak's penalty. After the break, Naga continued to press whilst Svay Rieng maintained their plucky and dogged resistance. Vathanak did find the net when he fired through a forest of legs but Svay Rieng levelled again when Pov Phearith's 30 yard free-kick arrowed into the net like a cannonball. A stunning strike. That spurred Naga on and Om Thavrak put them ahead again before two headed goals from Vathanak sealed his hat-trick and Sovannrithy also cashed in to add the gloss in a 6-2 success.
BBU were way too hot for Prey Veng to handle and coasted into a six-nil half-time lead, as it looked like another double figures result was on the cards. However the youngsters from the Chab Meas provincial team did much better after the break restricting the BBU students to just one more strike, in their 7-0 success. BBU skipper Prum Puthsethy led the way with a hat-trick, Om Chandara netted twice with sub Sophat Chansikunthina and left back In Vireak also getting on the scoresheet. BBU now face Naga in the quarter-finals in a few weeks time.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The footy madness returns

Hero or villain? Ex-Phouchung Neak striker Heng Sokly came off the bench to sink his former club, in the colours of his new side, Phnom Penh Crown.
Before I launch into the two Hun Sen Cup matches played on Saturday at Olympic, a word on Kuoch Sokumpheak. The Cambodian international striker is back in Phnom Penh after an unsuccessful trial with Indonesian Super League club Persipura last week. Their transfer window opens next week so they were looking at Sokumpheak and a Korean defender but didn't take up the option to sign either after having a look. There's a suggestion they felt he was too small. Disappointing for Sokumpheak, obviously, as it would've been a chance to pitch himself in the hottest league in Asia right now, not to mention the cash windfall he would've got, but at least we'll have the pleasure of his company again in this season's Cambodian Premier League.
The last 16 of the Hun Sen Cup kicked off Saturday without any foreigners, giving the all-Khmer teams the chance to shine. Phnom Penh Crown were made to work for their 1-0 success against Phouchung Neak and it was the Navy old boy, Heng Sokly, who has just joined Crown, who came off the bench to net the winning goal, 5 minutes from time. Crown dominated but couldn't put their opponents to the sword, though Keo Sokngorn, with his head bandaged after a clash of heads left him with a cut eyebrow, was the pick of both sides and it was his pin-point cross that left Sokly with the tap-in as extra time loomed. P'Neak had the ball in the net in injury time but the linesman's flag ruled it offside, sparking a free-for-all that had the Military Police itching to get involved. By the time they'd reached the touchline, the handbags had been put away.
In the 2nd game, it was one-way traffic for the whole match, and Wat Phnom managed to net as many as I predicted, a round 10 against Mekong University's 1. A mismatch from the start, Wat Phnom were known as Spark in the CPL last term, and proved way too strong for the students. Two players got hat-tricks. Srei Vandeth came off the bench in the 2nd half and within 11 minutes he'd netted his 3 goals. Ry Phearoeun was the other ball-claimer after he scored two late goals to add to his 1st half rocket. Other goals came courtesy of Tes Vatanak, Put Savuth, Leang Sok Samnang and Phlong Chanthou for Wat Phnom, with Em Thun scoring for the hapless Mekong side. Two more games will be played Sunday afternoon.
Footnote: For the first time I saw football jerseys being sold before the game. It had to be PPCrown of course and their merchandize was selling for $10 apiece. They also employed a band to liven up proceedings too. You've got to admire their enthusiasm. Read my Phnom Penh Post match reports here.
Crown's national wizard Keo Sokngorn was the pick of the players in Saturday's 1-0 win for Crown. Sokngorn picked up a cut eyebrow from a clash of heads.
The all-Khmer Phnom Penh Crown side, 1-0 winners over the Navy team
Plucky Phouchung Neak put in a determined performance, only to lose to a goal 5 mins from time
The hat-trick heroes for Wat Phnom: Srei Vandeth (11) and Ry Phearoeun (9)
Wat Phnom getting themselves in a tangle before the game begins, or are they just camera shy?
Mekong Kampuchea University were put to the sword by Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom finally got themselves organized and hammered the Mekong students 10-1

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Qualifying success

Yesterday was the final round of group qualifying matches for the Hun Sen Cup, which have been held in four locations in the provinces over the past week. It was good to see the teams from the Cambodian Premier League getting out and about to give the provincial teams a crack at toppling them, though the CPL boys all came through to the last 16 with the exception of Post Tel, who had a miserable time in Kep, losing all four games. Two teams from each of the eight groups qualified for the next round to be played in Phnom Penh beginning in two weeks time (30 January). In Battambang, Phnom Penh Crown waltzed through Group A with 4 wins out of four, netting 26 goals and conceding none. In Group B, the National Defence Ministry had to settle for 2nd spot to the Mekong Kampuchea University side. Up in Siem Reap, BBU and Naga go through as group champs, Naga netting 26 goals in just three games. Down in Kep, Koh Kong topped Group F over Wat Phnom (who were called Spark last season), with Kiriviong also grabbing top spot in Group E. And in Svay Rieng, Khemara scored 28 goals withour reply in their 3 games, with Preah Khan also topping their group with ease. Highest score of the round went to Khemara who beat Arizon 15-o.
The last 16 round will take place over the two weekends of 30 January and 6 February. Koh Kong will fancy their chances of a cup upset against National Defence, whilst Mekong Kampuchea University will also be up for their game against Wat Phnom. I would expect the big guns like PPCrown, Naga, Khemara and Preah Khan to proceed with ease. Only Khmer-born players are eligible for the Hun Sen Cup matches this season, which act as a prelude to the CPL, or the Metfone C-League as it'll be called this season.
Footnote: The Cambodian national team coach, Scott O'Donell made a welcome re-appearance on ESPN's football results program tonight to dissect the Barclays Premiership results. Scott had been a regular pundit on the sports channel in the past but has been absent for some time due to his Cambodian U23 involvement.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cup kick-off

I've been trying to tone down the number of football-related posts in recent times after the glut of them during the SEA Games in the last few months. However, I must mention that the preliminary round of the 2010 Hun Sen Cup kicks-off this afternoon, with 8 games taking place in 4 provincial locations across the country. The big boys of the CPL are out in the sticks, with the champions Naga playing in Siem Reap, cup holders Phnom Penh Crown up in Battambang, whilst other matches will be played in Kep and Svay Rieng. The teams in the eight groups will all play each other with the aim of qualifying for the last 16 round which will be played at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh. Naga, PPCrown and Khemara have each lost their coach in the close season, so will have new faces at the helm this time around, whilst Spark FC have changed their name to Wat Phnom. A few players have changed clubs, like national defender Chan Dara, who has left Khemara Keila for Crown, who've also signed babyfaced striker Heng Sokly from Phouchung Neak, but so far the movement of players has been pretty minimal. The Hun Sen Cup only allows Cambodian players to play in the competition this year, so any talk of the foreign players in the team line-ups will wait for a couple of months until we get closer to the CPL season.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the footy wires

The Cambodian national football team have a friendly encounter coming up in January, when they've been booked to play against Ulsan University of South Korea at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday 23 January. The University side are on tour and will face CPL side Preah Khan Reach two days earlier. The fixture is for the national team though it's likely the U23 side will represent Cambodia for this one-off game. This will be an opportunity for the players to enjoy a getogether again after their recent SEA Games adventures, though the main competitive focus for the national team in 2010 will be in October when there are World Cup and Suzuki Cup qualifying matches to be played.
The 4th edition of the Hun Sen Cup (aka Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen Cup 2010, for the full mouthful) kicks off in early January with the provincial round-robin prelims across the country that will also include the big boys of the CPL before the last 16 play a knock-out format in Phnom Penh, with the final scheduled for 6 March. The Hun Sen Cup is the taster for the CPL season, and there's talk of only Khmer players being eligible for the competition this time around, to give more homegrown talent the chance to shine.

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