Reigning league champions Naga Corp have enlisted Prak Sovannara to lead them to a title defence, while Preah Khan Reach have sacked Olisa Onyemerea
Nigerian hotshot Olisa Onyemerea has had his contract terminated by Preah Khan Reach a month before it expires.
Prak Sovannara hopes his coaching expertise will help Naga Corp gain success in both the league and AFC Presdient’s Cup.
Photo by: Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)
Naga secure Sovannara’s services
Naga have appointed Prak Sovannara as head coach after his contract was terminated by Preah Khan Reach at the end of the Samdech Hun Sen Cup campaign last month. The former national team tactician is now focused on achieving glory with the casino backed club, but will take his time to integrate himself fully.
“First, I will only try to change a little, maybe 20 percent, but still maintain the philosophy of the club,” he expressed. “This team has a [great] history and always wants to do well, so the expectation is high. I intend to keep the playing style with a slight adjustment in the tactical and technical approach.”
Whilst defending the league title is a top priority, Sovannara hopes his international experience – he is the only Cambodian with an official ‘A’ licence from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) – will also help him guide the side to success in the AFC President’s Cup. “I am relishing the challenge,” he enthused. “We have two targets; to go far in the AFC President’s Cup, and to finish amongst the top four [in the league].”
According to Naga manager Lam Thiny, Prak Sovannara is on a one year contract and will receive the full backing of the club. “He has been given a free hand to manage the team and we have confidence that he will succeed,” said Lam Thiny. “Sovannara is an experienced coach, and as you know there are very few quality coaches in Cambodia. He is right there at the top.”
One sour note for Naga is the potential loss of their marauding midfielder Sunday Okonkwo, who is presently in Thailand in search of a contract.
Preah Khan Reach dump top scorer
Preah Khan Reach (PKR) have sacked striker Olisa Onyemerea with a month still left on his contract. The Nigerian, who was top scorer for the club with 18 league goals last year, is now clubless just days before the start of the season. “The club decided to drop me without notice,” complained Onyemerea. “Now I can’t find another club because registration has closed.”
According to the frontman, he is waiting for his salary and will look for a new appointment in the mid-season transfer window.
PKR, who also saw defender Seidu Zila prized away by Phnom Penh Crown, have recruited three foreign players; striker Ande Apollo and midfielders David Njoku and Anthony Nzekwesi. Apollo boasts a wealth of experience, having played in Belgium and Holland in the past, and comes into Saturday’s match against newly promoted Chhma Khmao with an impressive five goals from four preseason warmup games.
Meanwhile, former PKR player Rith Dikar has been named as the replacement of ousted coach Prak Sovannara, after the club’s search for a foreign manager fell through.
Prek Pra confident on top tier debut
Newly promoted team Prek Pra Keila will receive a baptism of fire in their first Metfone C-League match Sunday as they come up against reigning champions Naga Corp. Prek Pra, based in the predominantly Muslim community in the Phnom Penh district of Chhbav Ampov, will hope their young squad can cope with the experience of one of the league’s best.
“We are excited to be in the Premier League” said Prek Pra coach Yep Phirum. “We are not just going to make up the numbers, we want to do our best in the game.”
Prek Pra manager Abdul Karim is banking on local trio So Hana, Ith Usman and Math Hassan to give Naga a surprise. “We won’t be able to field some of our good foreign players as they are yet to be cleared by the federation [due to lack of visas],” he noted. “However, I am sure our young team will do well on Sunday.”
18-year-old So Hana is relishing the challenge of taking on the Naga midfield. “I m looking forward to the game,” he stated. “I hope to play well for my team and will not be intimidated by their experienced players.”
Coach Ye Phirum voiced concern over his current back line and hoped defender Lar Simuth will recover from a slight injury to be fit for Sunday’s match. “We will go with the right attitude and hope to get a good result,” asserted the coach. “But first we have to play safe.”
Pre Pra will look to emulate last year’s Premier League newcomers Spark, who were unbeaten in their first four league games.
Solomon gets reprieve at Khemara
Solomon Demagudu is excited to have been given another chance to put behind him his nightmare season last year with Phouchoung Neak after being appointed new head coach of Khemara Keila. The Nigerian born tactician was at the helm of the Navy side when they were relegated back to Division A1, but said he was glad to be back again this year to redeem himself. “The [Khemara] players and I are very committed and dedicated,” he stated. “Both the local players and foreigners have matured and we hope to do well this season.”
The former Post Tel defender hopes to attract sponsors to the cash-strapped club, who have a significant following of local supporters.