PREAH Khan Reach (PKR)'s long pursuit of a Cambodian Premier League title looks set to bear fruit this season, with the team all but qualified for the lucrative postseason knockout competition, known as the Super 4. The military police-backed team seems destined for the title, providing they can overcome the threat from previous league winners Phnom Penh Crown, Khemara Keila and Naga Corp.
With the top four standings of the CPL to be determined solely on the outcome of the Super 4 competition, former PKR player and co-sponsor Rith Dikar knows they have their best chance in five years of claiming the premier division title, which would also qualify PKR for the coveted AFC President's Cup.
Rith Dikar, one of a consortium who finance the team also known as PM (Military Police), voiced his satisfaction with the squad and technical crew, led by former national team coach and current Cambodian U19s handler Prak Sovannara.
Preah Khan Reach is noted for recruiting power men. The team is made up of arguably the tallest and strongest bunch of players in the CPL, many surpassing 6 feet tall, including local players. Rith Dikar attributed his team's physical prowess to a strict training regimen, which includes extensive gym work. "I think that if my players are big and strong it will give them advantage to do everything on the field," he opined.
Rith Dikar, a member of the Cambodian national team for eight years from 1999 to 2007, also noted that the standard in Cambodia has improved tremendously compared to when he used to play with the national team. "We usually lost by a large goal margin and rarely scored," he remembered. "But now, Cambodian teams hold their own with others."
Preah Khan Reach is one of the few CPL clubs with a strong management structure. "I have a company and business, which help to support the team financially," said Rith Dikar, adding that his team still experience problems like other CPL clubs. "General Sao Sokha [FFC President] usually tries to help," he said.
Despite solid financial backing, Rith Dikar claimed his team would still welcome additional sponsorship, although he admitted he wasn't sure what form the sponsorship would take yet.
Photo by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)