The winners of the 2017 Metfone C-League championship and the much coveted Hun Sen Cup received their well deserved rewards, along with the season’s star performers, at a glittering function at Koh Pich Theater held by the Cambodian National Competitions Committee (CNCC) on Thursday evening, while news of prolific Phnom Penh Crown scorer Shane Booysen moving to Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng filtered in over the weekend.
In a marked departure from the Football Federation of Cambodia’s convention over the years of handing out the trophies and awards at the end of each competition on the day of the final, the CNCC set a new precedent by staging something similar to an awards night to bring glamour to the end of the season in the presence of some special invitees, including secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Vath Chamroeun, with the FFC President General Sao Sokha presiding over the nearly two-hour event.
As newly promoted Visakha FC look forward to their debut when the season starts in early March, one of Cambodia’s star players of the past, Hok Socheatra, who briefly served as the national head coach between July and October of 2012, was showcasing the strength of his squad the same morning by announcing the signing of talented Pak Song-chol, reinforcing North Korean power after signing the quartet of Choe Myong-ho, Kim Kyong-hon, Ri Hyok-chol and Jang Song-hyok, who served National Defense Ministry so well in the just concluded season.
Phnom Penh-based Visakha are currently training in Thailand and are scheduled to play a friendly against Chanthaburi FC in Phnom Penh early next month before playing two more warm up games against Thai teams during the League season in June.
With Cambodian “muscle power” draining out with Chantha Bin Theary, Hok Sokpheng and Chan Vathanaka moving to the Malaysian league, which starts this Saturday, and Prak Mony Udum reportedly contemplating a similar move, the arrival of Pak, part of North Korea’s World Cup qualifying campaign, could bring some star power to the second-tier winners, who on the strength of their foreign component and some worthy local recruitment will be out to trouble the best.
But the ensuing season may also see the league’s Golden Boot winner, Rwandan Atuheire Kipson, who scored 26 goals in 23 appearances for NagaWorld, leave the club and head to the Malaysian top flight, crossing paths with some of the Cambodian players he has played against during a highly successful stint in the Kingdom.
While Crown’s loss of South African Shane Booysen will be Svay Rieng’s gain, musical chairs are currently underway with the movement of some national team players, most prominently Chreng Polroth of Army, who was named Most Valuable Player of the Metfone C-League season.
Metfone C-League 2017
WINNERS: Boeung Ket
RUNNERS-UP: National Defense Ministry
FAIR PLAY: Cambodian Mines Action Center
BEST REFEREEing TEAM: Khoun Vireak, Lim Bunthoeun, Sun Chan Phearith and Heng Sokly
BEST GOALKEEPER: Sou Yaty (Boeung Ket)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Chreng Polroth (ARMY)
GOLDEN BOOT WINNER: Atuheire Kipson (NagaWorld – 26 goals)
BEST COACH: Hao Socheat (Boeung Ket)
HUN SEN CUP 2017
WINNERS: Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng
FAIR PLAY: Boeung Ket
BEST REFEREEing TEAM: Chy Samdy, Sun Daravuth and Chy Sopheap
BEST GOALKEEPER: Om Oudom (Svay Rieng)
GOLDEN BOOT WINNER: Khoun Laboravy (Boeung Ket – 16 goals)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Prak Mony Udum (Svay Rieng)
BEST COACH: Sam Vandeth (Svay Rieng)
BEST SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER: Soeurn Sayonsonya (Post News)
BEST SUPPORTER: Biv Tola
Most POPULAR COACH: Meas Channa (Nagaworld)
Most POPULAR PLAYER: Ly Wahed (Boeung Ket)