Pin Sarath, captain and coach of the Kampong Speu Scorpions.CNVLD
THE 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League (Disabled) will reach its exciting conclusion today at 7:30pm, when the two best teams of the regular season face off in the grand final at the inside hall of Olympic Stadium. An Armed Art trophy sculpted from decommissioned machine guns and a cash prize of US$3,000 is up for grabs for the winner, with the runners up receiving a respectable $2,000.
Siem Reap Eagles flying high
Chat Samouen, 46, has coached the Siem Reap Globe Eagles since 2003, taking third place that year and improving to a second-place finish in 2005. However, the Eagles are firm favourites to claim their first-ever league title this year having ridden out a perfect nine wins for the loss of only three sets in their season campaign.
“We are well prepared by training regularly,” says Chat Samoeuen. “I believe 100 percent we will win. I know the rival team well, especially their weakness. During our training, we played twice against an able-bodied team in Siem Reap. Even though we lost [both games], they were not big losses.”
The Siem Reap side is bolstered by internationally capped players Chheum Chandy and Chhoeum Korng, and the experienced 46-year-old veteran Heav Vannak, who has been at the club since 2002.
Scorpions seek finals upset
The Kampong Speu Global Giving Scorpions are also seeking their first title and will hope to show local rivals and last year’s champions Kampong Speu CTN Koupreys that they are also capable of the feat. Team captain Pin Sarath, 26, has coached the side for five years and will hope his international experience can see off the Siem Reap threat.
“We’ve worked hard during our training in Kong Pisey district of Kampong Speu province to raise our attack and our defense,” asserted Pin Sarath. “Our performance keeps getting better and better.”
However, the captain isn’t utterly convinced of victory in the finals against the only team unbeaten in the 2009 league. “I believe that our team has an 85 percent chance of becoming champion this year,” he added. “We really need this victory over Siem Reap team. In our squad, the players understand each other well, and we play with heart. Because of this, we have reached the final.”
The third place playoff at the earlier time of 4pm will see the Kompong Speu CTN Koupreys square up to six-time champions Phnom Penh ANZ Royal Dragons.