THE pain of missing the chance to play in Saturday’s Metfone C-League final is almost too much to bear for Phnom Penh Crown’s Uche Prince Justine.
“Physically I am here but psychologically I feel shattered that the one glorious moment I was working for all these five months had been snatched away from me,” said the prolific Nigerian striker during a training session with his team on Wednesday.
Last season’s goalscoring supremo was hit with a one-match suspension after picking up a second yellow card in as many games during Crown’s 4-2 victory over Naga in the semifinals last week. The ban will see him ruled out of the one match he didn’t want to miss.
“That is how harsh life and football can be,” said Justin. “I must say that I knew the moment it happened it was a bookable offence. But I did not do it deliberately as the referee tended to believe. I was pushed from behind by someone, lost my balance and fell on this Naga player. But
unfortunately the referee caught sight of me falling over the player and missed what happened before that.
“An injury related miss is something, but this really hurts,” he added. “Anyway, you have to face the facts. I wish things turn out well for the side on Saturday.”
The nippy striker, who tops the goal scoring chart for Crown this year with 16 goals, had confidence in the man likely to replace him up front, his fellow countryman Olisa Onyemerea. “He is an accomplished striker. In fact when I first came to Cambodia I was looking at Olisa as my inspiration. We are both from the same state in Nigeria and I wanted to be him.”
Watching helpless from the stands as the action unfolds on Saturday will be a testing experience for Justine, but he will hope to spur his team on to the league title. “I am there to cheer my team,” he said. “After all a win for them is victory for me as well.”