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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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Round up from yesterday

The two teams and VIPs line-up before yesterday's game
Here are a few photos to round off yesterday's friendly international match at Olympic Stadium, which Cambodia lost 1-nil to Ulsan University from South Korea. Crowd favourite Nov Soseila was subbed after just six minutes of yesterday's game when he suffered an ankle injury, and was replaced by PPC's Chan Rithy, who has been training in Thailand in recent weeks. Soseila had an ice pack on the injury for the rest of the game and will do well to recover for next week's Hun Sen Cup matches. Om Thavrak partnered Tieng Tiny at the center of defence after Sok Rithy and Prak Mony Udom failed to turn up for training on Thursday and were dropped from the squad. The two subs not used yesterday were keeper Samreth Seiha and Chan Dara. Oh, and Sun Sovannarith, the U23 skipper, has changed the spelling of his name. His new passport shows his name as Sun Sovannrithy.
Kuoch Sokumpheak
will fly out to Indonesia on Monday, accompanied by national assistant coach Bouy Dary, and will spend the next four or five days undergoing a trial for an unnamed Super League club side. The Super League is approaching its half-way break and they have a transfer window opening in February, so they are inviting players for trials around about now. They are allowed 3 foreigners plus 2 non-Indo Asian players in the team. If Sokumpheak, 22, who has remained fiercely loyal to his Khemara Keila team in recent years, is successful, his wages could be up to ten times his current salary. He is without doubt the best homegrown player in Cambodia at the moment and has the type of character that would make him a perfect ambassador for Cambodian football if given the chance. The ISL's growing reputation is attracting some of the best talent across Asia right now and is 'the' league to be in.
Keo Sokngorn, with ball, faced by Pheak Rady in the warm-up
High kicking for the Cambodian starting line-up before the match
The world's press (joke) watch the VIP intro's prior to the game. I counted half a dozen tv cameras.
The Ulsan University team all visited the same hairdresser before kick-off
The Cambodian bench moments before the game starts
Game over, time for a mini inquest with the Cambodian team listening to the coaching staff

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Cambodia go down

Cambodia's captain Kuoch Sokumpheak, who will fly to Indonesia on Monday
Two big stories came out from Saturday's international friendly at Olympic Stadium. Cambodia began slowly, conceded a wickedly deflected goal and despite upping their game after the interval, couldn't pull it back and went down 1-0 against the Ulsan University touring team from South Korea, who were no slouches. After the game, Cambodia's national coach Scott O'Donell confirmed that his skipper for the day, Kuoch Sokumpheak will spend the next week on trial at an unnamed professional club in Indonesia, with a view to impressing enough to earn a contract for the 2nd half of the Indonesian Super League season. Sokumpheak is widely regarded as the best of the homegrown talent in Cambodia and if successful, the Khemara Keila striker would be a great ambassador for his country. More on the international game later today.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009


Last night's 2 goal hero - Chan Chhaya
Tricky decision. Most of the team played a blinder in the 3-2 win over HAGL last night to earn themselves the BIDC Cup, a share of the prize money and a new moto each, thanks to the football federation. Goalkeeper Samreth Seiha, whose handling last night was almost faultless, was voted best goalkeeper by the press to win a $1,000 prize. Kuoch Sokumpheak's beaming smile at the end of the game said it all after he claimed the winner in the closing minutes. Sun Sovannarith's forays down the left wing were a feature throughout the tournament and the U23s skipper was as proud as punch to lift the cup at the end of the game. But my vote goes to Chan Chhaya, who netted two first-half goals to give Cambodoa a 2-nil halftime advantage. Chhaya is one of the unsung heroes of the team, he missed a few chances in the other games but came good last night when it really mattered. He wouldn't be everyone's pick to partner Sokumpheak up front but his tireless running is a great foil to his partner's savvy and he showed last night that he knows where the goal is. At 22 he's one of the older players in the squad and plays for Phnom Penh Crown in the CPL, though finds it tough to hold down a regular spot with their preference for African strikers.
All the press attention is on Chan Chhaya at the end of the game
A composed and happy Kuoch Sokumpheak after the game
The Cambodian players on the podium. LtoR, Sun Sovannarith, Kuoch Sokumpheak (10), Nov Soseila (14) and Chan Chhaya (9).

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