The boys team of Kirivong Sok Sen Chey from the Cambodian Premier League take the Youth Academy Cup championship, going 4-0 in the finals in S’pore
TAKEO-based club Kirivong Sok Sen Chey’s boys team stormed to an emphatic championship victory in the 2009 AFG Youth Academy Cup U16s category Sunday in Singapore, after seeing off Fusion FC of Singapore 4-0 in the finals.
A total of 49 teams from six countries including hosts Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Phillipines, Hong Kong and Cambodia, took part in five different categories (U8, U10, U12, U14 and U16) over the weekend at the SAFRA Tampines sports complex.
In the buildup to the finals, Kirivong won eight of their nine group stage fixtures to enter the semifinals knockout phase in first place.
With games playing 10 minutes each way, the Cambodian outfit, captained by 16-year-old Soch Makara, saw off home sides Dunearn FC and Boyan Murni 1-0 and 3-0 respectively Saturday, before meeting sterner opposition from Fusion FC.
Having conceded two and scored two, Kirivong required a last-gasp winner to win it 3-2. The team then went on to beat Anusorn FC of Thailand and Lysians FC of Indonesia.
In repeat fixtures Sunday, Kirivong repeated their earlier 3-0 victory of Dunearn, but had the tables turned on them by hard-fighting Boryan Murni to go down 1-0. The loss was a wakeup call for the young lads, who breezed through their two remaining games to top the group and book a place in the semifinals against fourth placed Dunearn.
The matchup looked comfortable for the Cambodians, having already beaten the Singaporeans twice by three goals. However, the Takeo team had to come back from a goal down, with a brace from Chen Yang putting them in the driving seat. Then, with just two minutes to go, a defensive error saw Dunearn equalise, but with the game heading for extra time, Chen Sang notched the winner from his corner kick, which went into the net unaided to put the final score at 3-2.
The second semifinal was settled by spotkicks, after Boryan Muni and Fusion ended in a 1-1 stalemate. The boys from Fusion soccer school prevailed, winning 3-2.
Visiting side gathers support
Sunday afternoon’s final was watched by a large crowd of anxious Singaporean parents, while the other participants decided to cheer for Kirivong, who had won over many of the fans with their good display. And the visitors didn’t disappoint, heading into the break with a two-goal cushion and controlling the second half confidently to end 4-0 victors, with goals coming from Chen Yang, an own-goal by a Fusion defender, and a strike by Kirivong defender Nhem Pannet.
The team were awarded a trophy, medals, a certificate of participation and a goodie bag from tournament organisers Asia Football Group, although no cash prizes were given.
Skipper Soch Makara was also voted the most valuable player of the U16 category.
The team fly back to Phnom Penh today, with head of delegation Somay Sokea elated with their success. “I am happy for this victory,” he beamed. “The boys are joyous and proud to have brought success to the Kingdom. I am also pleased that the efforts by [team sponsor] Sok An to make this trip possible were not in vain.