Defending domestic league champions Phnom Penh Crown, who are fighting hard for a Super Four place this year, are upbeat when it comes to their trip to Tajikistan capital Dushanbe for a tilt at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup in September.
The draw for the six team final, which was announced in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, brackets 2011 runners-up Crown with home giants Istiqlol and Krygyzstan’s Dordoi Bishkek in Group A.
Cup Holders Taiwan Power Corporation figure in Group B along side Khan Research Laboratories, Pakistan and Palestinian qualifiers Markaz Shabab Al-Am’ari.
“Any of the two groups would be tough. We need to do our best and get on with it” Crown’s coach David Booth who took charge of the side midway through the championship winning league season last year, told the Post yesterday.
“We have to prepare well. We cannot afford to relax. Keep doing well on the pitch.” he said.
Knowing one of the teams in the group well enough may be helpful in some ways” the coach said in reference to Dordoi, who narrowly beat Crown during the preliminaries at the Olympic Stadium in May.
“The league campaign has been tough. But we are still in it and whether we make it to the last four or not we will still be using this as part of our preparations for the President’s Cup”, the coach pointed out.
While Dordoi striker Mirlan Murzaev, who is the leading scorer going into the finals with eight goals, could be a danger man for Crown, the Cambodian hopes may find some comfort in the fact that their own Kim Borey is second in the list with four goals.
Crown lost a controversial final to Taiwan Power Corporation in Taipei last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]