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Crown bag Booth as coach

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Phnom Penh Crown’s newly appointed coach David Booth (right) shakes hands with club president Rithy Samnang yesterday.

David Booth has been appointed as the new head coach of Phnom Penh Crown on a four-month contract. The 61-year-old Englishman succeeds Croatian born Bojan Hodak, who resigned in June to join Shandong Luneng Taishan FC in China as assistant coach.

Booth boasts a wealth of international coaching experience, including stints with the national teams of Brunei, Myanmar, and Laos, as well as professional clubs in ten different countries spread over three continents.

Booth started his football playing career at the age of 19, playing left back for English sides Barnsley FC and Grimsby Town during the 1960s and 70s. He went on to become manager at Barnsley and then Darlington FC before earning his first call abroad in 1990 to coach Ghanaian club Goldfields.

From 1996 to 1999, he took the reigns of the Brunei national team and returned to Ghana for a brief watch over Asante Kotoko.

Booth made a notable name for himself during 2000-2003 when he took charge of the Myanmar national team, leading them to third place at the 2001 SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur. He has since managed sides in Vietnam, Thailand, the Maldives and India, where he was named as 2010 coach of the year with Mahindra United.

Last year, he also put in a seven-month term with the Laos national team, overseeing successful qualification as hosts of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup preliminary round. At the start of this year, Booth then went back to Thailand to coach Sisaket FC of the Thai Premier League, quitting his role in April.

In a press conference yesterday, Phnom Penh Crown President Rithy Samnang said: “We chose David [Booth] because of his record of success and his well-established reputation in Asia ... He come to us with wealth of experience and a proven track record and we are fortunate to secure his service for the rest of Metfone League season, as well as the important AFC President’s Cup matches that lie ahead [in September in Taiwan]. We are very happy to have David join with us.”

Booth has claimed he gained a good knowledge of Cambodian during his time with the three national teams in the region. He is also responsible for the historic signing of Khim Borey, who secured a one-year loan deal with Sisaket from Phnom Penh Crown. Booth had been impressed by the national team striker’s ability during the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers played in Vientiane.

“I am so happy to join with Cambodian players, I will try my best to lead Phnom Penh Crown to success in my short time.

“I expect I can develop their abilities,” he said, adding that the standard of players here is not that different from others in the region, only that each country had started differently in developing.

David Booth will make his Crown debut on Saturday July 9 against bottom of table Rithy Sen in the second leg of the 2011 Metfone C-League season. Crown currently top of the table with 20 points, one ahead of archrivals and two ahead of National Defence Ministry.

Translated by In Sopheng

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