Sunday afternoon saw the culmination of Metfone C-League champions Phnom Penh Crown’s nationwide search for the best young footballing talent. Forty boys under 13 years were selected to attend a weekend of further scrutiny in Phnom Penh following 17 trials in as many provinces last month.
The lads knew that 22 places were at stake at the new PPCFC Elite Football Academy. The club’s coaches, led by Academy Chief Bouy Dary, were assisted in the selection process by Graham McMann, chief scout with the Asia Pacific Football Academy in New Zealand, who partnered Crown in setting up the Academy, as well as former Chelsea manager Ken Shellito, who is a coach and analyst for the Asian Football Confederation in Malaysia.
The 22 boys who gained selection will spend the next two years getting high-quality football coaching every morning and attending Beltei International Institute in the afternoons, all funded by Phnom Penh Crown. They will live together at the club’s training headquarters in Tuol Kork in specially built dormitories, with intake commencing in January 2011. They will also get the chance to represent Crown in regional tournaments. The 18 boys that didn’t make the grade will also be invited to the academy for coaching every few months.