Phnom Penh Crown yesterday announced the signing of three more foreigners to boost their ranks ahead of their opening fixture of the 2014 Metfone C-League on Sunday.
Crown coach Sam Schweingruber and club owner Rithy Samnang welcomed the trio – which include Zimbabwean striker Newton Ben Katanha, attacking midfielder Rafael Souza de Oliveira of Brazil and South Korean forward Jeong Ho Kim – during a signing ceremony held yesterday at Askap Gold offices.
“I am very excited,” Schweingruber said in a press statement released yesterday.
“This is a new situation for me to have five good foreign players and it gives me a good selection headache. I’m relieved to have gone through the long process of exploring the market for foreign faces, but happy that we waited for the right players and I think we have five very strong players that will provide a competitive environment in training and help to make us a real contender for the championship this season.” The two other players who make up Crown’s foreign contingent are Nigerian defender Odion Obadin and compatriot striker George Bisan. Welsh centre half Liam Hutchinson, who joined the club two months ago after spells in his homeland and Australia, has left the club for personal reasons.
Zimbabwe-born Katanha, 30, joins the four-time Cambodian league champions with an excellent reputation, having represented his country on 12 occasions, scoring six goals, and spending 13 years as a professional in Europe, including stints with Austrian sides SV Austria Salzburg and BSV Bad Bleiberg, German club Arminia Bielefeld, Russia’s PFC Spartak Nalchik and Swiss outfits FC Schaffhausen, Wettswil-Bonstetton and FC Winterthur.
“I like what I heard about the club from the coach. I have a lot of experience. I want to help the club and my teammates and I know what needs to be done to be successful. I have come here to win the championship,” Katanha said in a press release.
25-year-old De Oliviera has bounced between the Premier Leagues of Brazil and Vietnam, playing for clubs such as Fluminense RJ, Atletico MG, The Cong, Navibank Saigon and Than Quang Ninh.
“He’s very good with both feet, has good instinct and can produce that special bit of magic,” coach Schweingruber said of the Brazilian.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Kim completed a successful month-long trial with Crown after returning from injury that ended his time at the prestigious Kwangoon University.
“[Kim] has shown enough signs that he will be a good asset both as a striker but in other positions as well. He is strong, has good technique and his fitness is improving all the time. He will be a good addition,” said Schweingruber.