Build Bright United captain Prum Puthsethy (left) vies with Preah Khan Reach’s Chea Samnang during their Metfone C-League match on August 14 last year. The two teams meet each other again in tomorrow’s final of the 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Preah Khan Reach striker Khoun Laboravy celebrates notching his second goal against Naga Corp during last week’s semifinal at Olympic Stadium. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Preah Khan Reach and Build Bright United are set for a titanic showdown at Olympic Stadium tomorrow afternoon in the final of the 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup, with a new name guaranteed to be inscribed on the trophy.
Last year’s champions National Defence Ministry, having lost their semifinal to BBU, will battle for third place against Naga Corp today.
Preah Khan Reach are Cup finalists for the second time after losing 1-0 to Phnom Penh Crown in 2008. BBU claimed third in the same year, their best finish to date.
Phnom Penh Crown have won the competition twice (2008 and 2009) while Khemera Keila, who failed to participate in this year’s tournament due to financial difficulties, triumphed in the inaugural edition in 2007.
After beating arch rivals Naga Corp 4-0 in semifinal, the Military Police backed PKR consider themselves favourites to take the title at the second time of asking. Coach Rith Dyka said: “I am never disrespectful to any rivals, but I believe in all my players. We are all strongly determined [to win].”
PKR have no injuries in the their squad to report, while hotshot striker Khoun Laboravy is tipped to be prolific once again. Laboravy has scored 21 times in their Cup campaign already, making him a virtual certainty for the Golden Boot award and 1 million riels (US$250) prize money.
Sam El Nasa, Lay Raksmey, Chea Samnang, and Prak Moni Udom are also key players for PKR.
However, Rith Dyka admitted that BBU are strong in the midfield and played the short passes very effectively. “But with many players absent, especially midfielder [Chan] Veasna, they will have less firepower,” he said.
BBU coach Meas Sam Oeun, meanwhile, refutes that his side have been incapacitated by suspensions of players such as defender In Virak, midfielder Hen Sokly and Chan Veasna.
“Truely they are key players, but we are also welcoming back Chhun Sothearoth, Tuy Sam and Keeper Hem Simay,” said the coach. “We have just beaten the holders National Defence Ministry without key players, so nothing can stop our progress.”
BBU tactician Meas Sam Oeun also recognised the skill of his opponents in the final. On PKR’s resounding defeat of Naga, the coach said: “They were great. They didn’t allow Naga the chance to dominate possession. But you will not see this happening in our competition on Saturday.”
The recent heah-to-heads seem to be inconclusive, with the University backed side having been beaten 2-1 by PKR in semifinal of the 2010 Metfone C-League playoffs, while BBU faring better in the regular season with a 2-1 victory followed by a 2-2 draw.
Tomorrow’s final kicks off at 3pm at Olympic Stadium and will see the winners walk away with a cheque for 80 million riels while the runner-up will bank 40 million riels.
Today’s third place playoff between Naga Corp and National Defence Ministry is also set to start at 3pm, with a 20 million riels bonus up for grabs.
A 2,000 riels entrance fee to the main stand is required for each game.