Phnom Penh Crown FC are busy preparing to host a group stage of the 2012 AFC President’s Cup from May 5 to 9, and held a press conference in conjunction with the Football Federation of Cambodia on Saturday at the Phnom Penh Hotel.
Reigning Metfone C-League champions Crown, who made it all the way to the 2011 final of the regional tournament only to succumb 3-2 to home side Taiwan Power Company in a fractious encounter in Kaohsiung, also entertained a group stage competition last year and will once again welcome three top-ranked Asian clubs in their respective domestic leagues.
Taking on Crown in Group B for a place in September’s final stage is Bhutan outfit Yeedzin, Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan and Nepal Police Club.
The teams will play each other once in a round robin format with all but one of the matches held at Olympic Stadium, while the last game between Nepal Police Club and Yeedzin will be at Old Stadium.
All three of Crown’s ties are to be broadcast live on TV5.
During his address at the conference on Saturday, Khiev Sameth, FFC Vice President and president of the organising committee, said: “It is our honour to receive the vote of confidence from the Asian Football Confederation on Cambodia’s ability to host this event for the second time.”
Referees from Japan, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia will officiate the Group B matches.
Each participating club will be collect sponsorship money to the tune of US$15,000 from the AFC, while Crown president Rithy Samnang confirmed his club is well prepared to cope with the costs of hosting the group stage.
Crown’s English-born coach David Booth said his players are still young but boast their own power and skills to form a competitive squad. He also noted his belief that they will perform better than before.
Meanwhile in Tajikistan, Group C hosts Istiqlol will take on Balkan of Turkmenistan, Palestinian side Markaz Shabab Al-Am’ari and Ratnam of Sri Lanka.
Group A, to be contested from May 8 to 12 in Pakistan, will see the holders Taiwan Power Company vie with home side KRL, Sheikh Jamal of Banglasdesh and Mongolia’s Erchim.
To contact the reporter on this story: Yeun Ponlok at [email protected]