CHAN Rithy, former Cambodian national team midfielder and left winger for Cambodian Premier League (CPL) team Phnom Penh Crown, is set to become the first Cambodian footballer of his generation to play in the Thai Premier League (TPL).
Be Makara, manager of Phnom Penh Crown, told the Post by phone Tuesday that his No 11 is now training with Bangkok Glass, currently third place in the TPL. According to the manager, Chan Rithy will opt to stay in Thailand if Bangkok Glass think he is good enough. There, he will join former Crown teammate Samuel Ajayi, who moved to Bangkok in 2008.
The 26-year-old is a favourite among Cambodian football fans, who have nicknamed him “Mr Left” due to his impressive skills with his left peg. He is also the elder brother of Chan Dara, defender of Khemara Keila and member of the Cambodian U23 national team.
Bangkok Glass are familiar to Phnom Penh Crown, having beaten them by an aggregate score of 5-4 over two legs in the 2009 Singapore Cup quarterfinals. Chan Rithy scored a penalty against his new side in the second leg. The Thai outfit went on to make the finals of the competition, which they lost 1-0 to Singapore side Geylang United.
For Be Makara, it will be a big loss to his team, but he really supports the decision of Chan Rithy for the future of his footballing career.
Crown, 2008 CPL winners and reigning Hun Sen Cup champions, hope to return quickly to winning ways after finishing a disappointing fourth place in the 2009 CPL campaign.
“Our Cambodian players are strong, so for the 2010 Hun Sen Cup, we will try our best to defend the title,” said Be Makara, adding that Crown had already signed two new players, Ly Sokheng from Phouchung Neak and Chhun Sothearath from Build Bright United. Goalkeeper Sos Proshim, and players Touch Sokheng, Chea Kolboth and Chea Virath, have been let go by the club.