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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Young players to get feeder league

Young players to get feeder league

kengadaffi

The Cambodian Football Federation proposes establishment of a youth league parallel to the Cambodian Premier League to allow inexperienced players to gain extra match practice

FFC plan to create reserves league
Khek Ravy, vice president of the Cambodian Football Federation (FFC), has announced plans for an additional league to the Cambodian Premier League (CPL) to help develop young and emerging talent of the clubs. "We are happy with the progress we are making [with the CPL]," said Khek Ravy. "But we need to set a benchmark for our league to be more professional. We are looking into setting up a youth or feeder team league, because in the 2009 season teams were requested to register at least 30 players, and with that most teams have younger players who don't get to play [regularly]."

The FFC is hoping that this extra league will provide the younger players an opportunity to play week in, week out, mirroring the practice in Europe, where there are reserve leagues and youth competitions to help players gain match experience despite being left out of the first team.

Khek Ravy, who doubles as the CPL organising committee president, also noted the federation's awareness of some players' concerns over breach of contract. "From 2010, there will be a tripartite contract arrangement between clubs, players and the FFC," he asserted. "Thus if a club breaches the contract, players can bring complaints to the FFC for arbitration, and any club who does not adhere to this will be taken to the world soccer governing body FIFA."

Meanwhile in a separate interview, the spokesman of the soccer federation, Deputy General Secretary May Tola, stated that the federation is looking into having a full- time executive board in their secretariat. Currently, nearly all the members of the executive committee are working for the federation part time, which seems to be impeding the work of the federation. It is hoped that by 2010, nearly 80 percent, if not all, will be working full time.

Ministries play volleyball match
Cambodia's Ministry of Interior volleyball team will head to Vietnam next week to play a friendly against their Vietnamese counterparts. The Cambodian team defeated the Vietnamese Ministry of Interior side last year by three sets to one, and are looking to repeat the feat in the match scheduled for Tuesday.

The Cambodian ministry team smashed past the Cambodian national team in straight sets in a warm-up match, scoring 24-23, 25-17 and 25-23. The ministry side, coached by Ky Mengham and Bun Chunkim, played the Cambodian national team at the indoor hall of the Olympic Stadium Wednesday morning. Spokesman of the Ministry of Interior team Ky Sethy revealed that the game coming up in Vietnam is to foster a good relationship between the two countries. "The [Cambodian] team is getting stronger and has confidence to win in Vietnam," Ky Sethy said after their victory at the Olympic Stadium.

O'Donell summons 40 for selection
Cambodian national team coach Scott O'Donell has called up 40 players to a training camp next week in preparation for the forthcoming Southeast Asian Games in Laos this December. Players have been drawn from CPL teams and a few youth sides across the country.

"We have invited 40 players for the first phase to be screened to 25 later," O'Donell said. "All the players are notable, so I cannot tell you any player [selected] now, but I will surely have a hard time screening to the final 25."

The coach revealed that the Ministry of Defence team is the main contributor with nine players invited.

After the conclusion of next week's session, O'Donell said he will publish the selected 25, who will train twice a week with him until the end of the Cambodian Premier League season September 26, after which they will train full time.

The coach is also working with the FFC to organise tune-up matches to perfect strategies ahead of the SEA games. International friendly matches both at home and away will be played after the CPL has drawn to a close.

Kirivong crisis still looming
Him Salam's dramatic stoppage time equaliser for Kirivong Sok Sen Chey last Saturday against Post Tel may have saved their coaching staff's jobs for another week at least, but after a week of crisis meetings with Chairman Leang Khoun yet to follow through on a threat to walk out on the club, things still rest on a knife edge.

Claims of divisions within the club have done little to appease the situation, with rumours of rifts between foreign and local players, Muslim and Buddhist members and even Phnom Penh- and Takeo-based management.

There appears to be numerous places to point the finger for their recent slide down the table. Vice Chairman Ing Kimleang stated that the problem lies with Vietnamese coach Lou Foekten not being respected by the players due to a lack of authority. Director of Administration Somay Sokhea noted that some players were found to be drinking out late on the eve a match, thus leading to a string of bad results. However, a source from within the Kirivong camp, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that these same players were out drinking until late during the early part of the season, when they were winning matches.

Other players who also refused to be named have denied allegations levied against the squad member, deflecting the blame to the division in the technical crew and the incessant changes of coaching staff. Kirivong have had a high turnover of coaches in the last 12 months, with players not given time to adapt to a coach's system before he is booted out.

"Its true that we have changed coaches more frequently, and that may be part of the problem, but we are going to steady the ship soon," declared Somay Sokhea.

Former Kirivong coach Andrew Ehiwarior, who had an exemplary record of saving the team from relegation on more than one occasion, has expressed his exasperation with the management. "Kirivong have simply refused to learn from their past mistakes," he stated, noting that the club's past record with Vietnamese coaches is not encouraging.

Ehiwarior, who is favoured by Ing Kimleang and Somay Sokea, remains optimistic that if called upon, he will do his utmost to salvage the team. "My heart has always been with Kirivong," he remarked. "You never say never in football, so lets see what happens at the end of the day."

All photos by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)

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