K ARAOKE'S night time popularity in Phnom Penh was briefly swept aside by World
Cup 94, to which many youngsters turned their attention.
Vong Poch, a
27-year-old former night guard at Concern and long-time Brazilian supporter,
said he strongly preferred watching the matches live via satellite on the French
"But the Gods are so unjust to give us midnight to watch the
matches," Poch complained while looking up at the twinkling stars overhead.
Poch said he changed his sleeping routine from night to day so that he
could follow the matches on CFI at 11 pm, 2:30 am and 6:30 am. "I was living an
owl's life for a month," he says.
Non-stop cheering and screaming
through the night by Poch and his mates led their annoyed neighbors into
thinking that they were watching something abnormal.
He revealed:" When
we were shouting 'Shoot! Shoot!' people thought we were watching a special video
Poch described how before the final he dreamt Brazil would beat
Italy in a penalty shoot-out. He said: "I accidentally kicked my sleeping friend
off the bed in the excitement."
Poch's orphanage mate, 21-year-old Tep
Sok, believing more in fate than ability, decided to cheer for the Bulgarian
side after he read in a local newspaper a Chinese witchdoctor's prediction the
'red shirt team' would be the 15th World Cup champions.
red-shirted Bulgarians put the German and Argentine teams out, Sok's pride and
trust in the witchdoctor traveled to such a high point that he promised his
friends he would burn his mosquito net if Bulgaria ever lost. After Bulgaria
lost to Italy his friends settled for Sok sleeping a night outside.
Sok says his friends' comments were stinging. One friend laughingly mocked: "You
said the red-shirt team would win, but now they've lost. Now only the referee is
wearing the red shirt, but how can a referee win or lose?"
But Sok still
adhered to the witchdoctor's failed forecast and turned to blaming Bulgaria's
defeat on the white shirts they had worn in previous matches.
supporter Noy Chhomya said he only watched the start and end of matches and
slept through the middle. He said: "If I also followed the middle part I would
surely have died from lack of sleep."
Chhomya was surprised by the
strength of the Bulgarians and expressed great regret over his team's
Friends tried to comfort Chhomya with the local football fans
saying: "We cannot foresee the round ball."
Chhomya replied: "But a
football never is square, not even in America."
Tang Phat, 28, said he
did not particularly favor any teams but preferred to concentrate on prominent
players from different countries.
He said: "I mainly focused on the
ability of some champions, including Italy's number 10, Bulgaria's number 10,
Russia's number 9 and Brazil's number 11, together with the American, Swedish
and Nigerian goal-keepers.
"I was forced to watch the IBC channel because
it came up clearest on my screen even though I hated the many boring
advertisements which kept interrupting the games.
"The state-run channel
was very fuzzy. It was appropriate the Brazilian team won the cup but I was not
satisfied with the neutrality of some of the referees."