Preah Khan Reach, who clinched back-to-back Samdech Hun Sen Cup titles last Sunday, fly out to Kuala Lumpur today ahead of their participation in the 2012 Malaysia FA Cup.
The military police-backed side become the first team from the Kingdom to play in Malaysia’s premier knockout competition, now in its 23rd incarnation.
18 of the 22 players who played during the recent Hun Sen Cup campaign are on the list for the tournament.
Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Preah Khan Reach's Prak Mony Udom (right) and Naga Corp's Ek Sovannara vie for the ball during the Hun Sen Cup final.
PKR will face Penang AUCMS (formerly Penang FA) in their round of 32 clash on February 18 at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
PKR General Secretary Ok Samnang told the Post yesterday that their 2-1 victory over Naga Corp in extra time of Sunday’s final showed his players could keep their nerves.
“Naga Corp were no pushover but we beat them. I hope my boys can do like this again in Malaysia,” he said.
Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) have been named as PKR’s first major sponsors.
According to the secretary, the club will hold a press conference to confirm details after returning from Malaysia.
“We could get about US$100,000 each year from SHB, but nothing is official yet. Everything will be clear after the signing ceremony. The Malaysia FA Cup 2012 is the great step for us to show our performance for the sponsors,” he added.
Penang AUCMS compete in the Malaysia FAM League, the third division of Malaysian football, having been relegated from the second tier last season.
They were winners of the Malaysia FA Cup in 2002 and finished runners-up in 1997 and 2000. Hungarian Janos Krecska coaches the club.
FFC bring back Super 4 playoffs
Meanwhile, the Football Federation of Cambodia have revealed the return of the Super 4 playoff format to their premier league competition.
The Metfone C-League, in its first year of rebranding Cambodia’s top tier, was spared a four-team post season set of fixtures last year. However, the Federation have decided to reintroduce it after some intriguing results during the two previous seasons.
“Our aim with the Super 4 playoffs is to attract more spectators nearing the end of the competition and to heighten the drama,” FFC General Secretary Kul Sophana told the Post on Tuesday.
“This format is also used by leagues in other countries [such as the MLS in the US].”
The 2012 Metfone C-League season is set to run from March 3 to August 5.
When questioned over the late announcement of the playoffs return, coming just two weeks before the start of matches, Kul Sophana noted that recent changes to schedules for international tournaments involving the Cambodian national team and clubs bound for regional competitions had forced such a late decision.
“But every team should know that we always start sometime in March,” said the secretary.
The lap over of the league start and the U21 national team friendly tournament in Brunei was “inevitable,” added Kul Sophana.
The August end to the league was designed to give the full national team at least a month to prepare for the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers, which will be held in Myanmar from October 5-13.
Ten teams will comprise this year’s Metfone C-League, including reigning champions Phnom Penh Crown, Naga Corp, Preah Khan Reach, National Defence Ministry, Build Bright United, National Police Commissary, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, Chhlam Samuth, and newcomers Western University – who won Division A1 last year – and Boeung Kat Rubber Field.
Each squad is allowed five foreigners on their books, with only three to be fielded at any one time.
Justification for the added thrill-factor that the Super 4 playoffs purport came in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons, where fourth place finishers of the league threw out the form books to complete championship victories.
In 2009, Naga claimed the title despite Crown ending top of the table from the regular season, while the following year the roles were reversed as Crown gained sweet revenge on their casino-backed rivals.