Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crown head to Cup finals




Crown head to Cup finals

Crown head to Cup finals

110916_23
Crown’s Kouch Sokumpheak (left) attempts to kick past Neftchi’s Iliaz Alimov during their 2011 AFC President’s Cup group stage match at Olympic Stadium on May 25. The teams will face each other again on Monday in the finals stage held in Kaohsiung.

Metfone C-League champions Phnom Penh Crown set off to Kaohsiung in Taiwan tomorrow ahead of next week’s Group B clashes of the 2011 AFC President’s Cup Finals. Crown will face familiar Kyrgyzstan foes Neftchi Kochkor-Ata on Monday before taking on Cup holders Yadanarbon of Myanmar on Wednesday.

Winner of the three-team Group B will face the topper of Group A, which features Turkmenistan’s FC Balkan, FC Istiklol of Tajikistan and the host nation’s No 1 side Taiwan Power Company, in the grand final on September 25.

Crown travel high on confidence having clinched the domestic league title on August 28 and then rolling out two victories in friendlies against the Cambodian U23 national team. The champions edged the SEA Games bound squad 3-2 last Friday at Olympic Stadium before completing a 3-1 win against the same side on Wednesday at the RSN Stadium in Tuol Kork.

Crown coach David Booth of England noted the need to alter their tactics slightly from their league games to cope with the demands of international play.

“It’s important we raise our game as the standard of football will be higher. I know we are capable of improving our game,” he said.

Booth was also aware of the danger of conceding early, and thus forcing them to chase a result.

“From a positive point of view, we always create chances and we need to take advantage of those chances when they come along, and to whoever they come to,” he added.

Crown received a welcome boost with the return on homegrown hero Khim Borey, who completed a season on loan to Thai Premier League team Sisaket FC, a move which coach Booth had instigated.

However, the team’s preparations have been disrupted by uncertainty over their foreign contingency. With each club allowed just two non-nationals in their line-ups for the competition, Crown’s Nigerian duo of Kingsley Njoku and Odion Obadin were hit with difficulties in obtaining visas.

At time of print, it was still unconfirmed whether this issue had been resolved, although club officials said yesterday it seemed likely they would be allowed to travel.

Neftchi, meanwhile, must be fancying their chances after triumphing in all three of their group games played at Olympic Stadium in May. The Kyrgyzstans, who currently share the lead of their domestic league with two-time President’s Cup winners Dordoi-Dynamo, beat Crown 1-0 on their home turf, although both sides fielded under-strength sides with qualification assured. Crown were then under the leadership of Croatian-born coach Bojan Hodak.

Striker Pavel Pavlov and full-back-come-forward Marat Adzhiniiazov are set to star once again.

Defending champions Yadanarbon, however, do not have form on their side. A less than comprehensive advance into the finals from group ties played in Yangon in May has been followed up with a barren run in the Myanmar National League, which has seen them fail to win a game since August 1.

Hitman Yan Paing, however, is always dangerous and is held in high regard by Crown’s Booth, who coached the 28-year-old during his time at the helm of the U23 Myanmar national team.   

After flying out tomorrow afternoon, Crown will have a training session on Sunday on the pitch of the Kaohsiung National Stadium pitch, a 40,000 seat stadium built in 2009 for The World Games in Taiwan’s second largest city.

“It’s important that our players go into these two games without any fear or trepidation,” said Booth. “Everyone tells me that Cambodian teams don’t travel too well outside of their country, but I say that we have a great chance to set an example to everyone else with these games in Taiwan.” 

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANDY BROUWER

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital