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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Witchdoctor spices up World Cup 94 telethon

Witchdoctor spices up World Cup 94 telethon

K ARAOKE'S night time popularity in Phnom Penh was briefly swept aside by World

Cup 94, to which many youngsters turned their attention.

Vong Poch, a

27-year-old former night guard at Concern and long-time Brazilian supporter,

said he strongly preferred watching the matches live via satellite on the French

CFI channel.

"But the Gods are so unjust to give us midnight to watch the

matches," Poch complained while looking up at the twinkling stars overhead.

Poch said he changed his sleeping routine from night to day so that he

could follow the matches on CFI at 11 pm, 2:30 am and 6:30 am. "I was living an

owl's life for a month," he says.

Non-stop cheering and screaming

through the night by Poch and his mates led their annoyed neighbors into

thinking that they were watching something abnormal.

He revealed:" When

we were shouting 'Shoot! Shoot!' people thought we were watching a special video


Poch described how before the final he dreamt Brazil would beat

Italy in a penalty shoot-out. He said: "I accidentally kicked my sleeping friend

off the bed in the excitement."

Poch's orphanage mate, 21-year-old Tep

Sok, believing more in fate than ability, decided to cheer for the Bulgarian

side after he read in a local newspaper a Chinese witchdoctor's prediction the

'red shirt team' would be the 15th World Cup champions.

After the

red-shirted Bulgarians put the German and Argentine teams out, Sok's pride and

trust in the witchdoctor traveled to such a high point that he promised his

friends he would burn his mosquito net if Bulgaria ever lost. After Bulgaria

lost to Italy his friends settled for Sok sleeping a night outside.


Sok says his friends' comments were stinging. One friend laughingly mocked: "You

said the red-shirt team would win, but now they've lost. Now only the referee is

wearing the red shirt, but how can a referee win or lose?"

But Sok still

adhered to the witchdoctor's failed forecast and turned to blaming Bulgaria's

defeat on the white shirts they had worn in previous matches.


supporter Noy Chhomya said he only watched the start and end of matches and

slept through the middle. He said: "If I also followed the middle part I would

surely have died from lack of sleep."

Chhomya was surprised by the

strength of the Bulgarians and expressed great regret over his team's


Friends tried to comfort Chhomya with the local football fans

saying: "We cannot foresee the round ball."

Chhomya replied: "But a

football never is square, not even in America."

Tang Phat, 28, said he

did not particularly favor any teams but preferred to concentrate on prominent

players from different countries.

He said: "I mainly focused on the

ability of some champions, including Italy's number 10, Bulgaria's number 10,

Russia's number 9 and Brazil's number 11, together with the American, Swedish

and Nigerian goal-keepers.

"I was forced to watch the IBC channel because

it came up clearest on my screen even though I hated the many boring

advertisements which kept interrupting the games.

"The state-run channel

was very fuzzy. It was appropriate the Brazilian team won the cup but I was not

satisfied with the neutrality of some of the referees."



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