Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MCL presents diverse look as season opens on Saturday



MCL presents diverse look as season opens on Saturday

Boeung Ket head coach Keo Kosal lifts the Metfone C-League trophy as his players celebrate winning the title at the end of last season.
Boeung Ket head coach Keo Kosal lifts the Metfone C-League trophy as his players celebrate winning the title at the end of last season.

MCL presents diverse look as season opens on Saturday

The 2018 Metfone C-League season involving 12 teams that kicks off on Saturday could well be the most diverse in recent memory.

Signings this year come for the first time from countries as far afield as Antigua and Barbuda, Lesotho and the United States.

Only two of the dozen teams in the fray, Electricite du Cambodge and National Police Commissary resisted the temptation of importing players, but the rest have filled their rosters between two and the maximum five allowed per team.

Japanese players head the list with 16 in all, followed by Nigeria’s 10, and the Korean Peninsula is equally represented, with five each from the North and South.

Other nationalities roaming the pitch will include Brazil, Cameroon, Iran and Ivory Coast.

That welcome diversity is seen the touchline as well, with Spaniard Oriol Mahedano coaching Angkor Tiger, Englishman Sean Sainsbury with Phnom Penh Crown, Conor Nestor of Republic of Ireland joining Svay Rieng, Malaysian Fisol Lasak in charge of Western Phnom Penh and Japan’s Yuki Matsuda managing Soltilo Angkor.

Two teams promoted from League 1, Visakha and Soltilo are the newcomers this season, while the Siem Reap-based Cambodian Tiger have renamed themselves Angkor Tiger.

Defending champions Boeung Ket face Asia Euro United in the opener on Sunday against the backdrop of last Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Myanmar’s Shan United in the AFC Cup Group Stage after suffering a 9-0 humiliation at the hands of Ceres Negros of the Philippines a fortnight ago.

Coach Keo Kosal will be hoping for a positive start in the defence of their title as they seek an unprecedented hat-trick of championships in the history of the Cambodian top flight.

In the second fixture of the day, Phnom Penh Crown will face newly promoted Soltilo.

The six-time champions have two interesting foreign additions to their squad this season: Jorrin John from Antigua and Barbuda, along with Sunny Jane from Lesotho.

The 27-year-old John came through the youth ranks of Aston Villa and Leicester City and represented England at U16, U17, 18 and U19 levels before turning to Antigua and Barbuda to pursue his international career in October 2014.

Sunny Jane has seven appearances for the Lesotho national team including one against Seychelles in the African Nations Cup qualification.

Army call in reinforcements

In Saturday’s final game, National Police lock horns with Western Phnom Penh.

The marquee matchup of the opening Gameweek on Sunday will be repeat of December’s Hun Sen Cup final between Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng and NagaWorld.

Svay Rieng proved too wily and strong for Naga in that clash, and Naga coach Meas Channa will be desperate for a piece of silverware having gone close twice since taking over from Prak Sovannara in 2014.

As well as acquiring talented Japanese player Tatsuro Inui, Naga have signed George Bisan from Cup-winners Svay Rieng.

Even before making their first move on the pitch, Vishaka FC have already created quite a stir by signing five North Koreans, including the four headed by the versatile Choe Myong-ho that represented the National Defense Ministry last season.

The pick of the lot is 30-year-old Pak Song-chol, who has made an impressive 39 appearances for the North Korean national team, including in World Cup qualification campaigns.

Visakha will be up against Electricite du Cambodge, who came out of their debut MCL season last term with a third place in the Hun Sen Cup after upsetting Boeung Ket 5-4 in a penalty shootout.

Angkor Tiger have drawn a tough tie against National Defense Ministry, who lost out on a first league title on penalties against Boeung Ket two months ago.

As a consequence of that disappointing turn, the Armymen unloaded all four North Koreans from their squad to Visakha.

But the Armymen brought in three South Korean and two Japanese players as reinforcements.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen invites US president to attend summit in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen personally invited US President Joe Biden to attend the ASEAN-US Summit which is set to be held in Cambodia in November, as ASEAN and the US are expected to upgrade their strategic partnership to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, according to Prime

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub