Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's that man Sokumpheak again

Kouch Sokumpheak rescued a point for Khemara after Naga had led - he can't stop scoring goals
This afternoon was my first taste of midweek football and the verdict - way too hot and humid. So credit to all four teams who did their best to serve up some quality play and it was a definite improvement on last weekend's drudgery. Phnom Penh Crown moved into second place in the Cambodia Premier League with their 2-nil victory over Kirivong in the first match up. They just about deserved it with two second-half goals from Akeeb Ayoyinka and a penalty from Keo Sokngorn but it wasn't exactly edge of the seat stuff. I was looking forward to the second game, Naga versus Khemara and I wasn't disappointed. The two teams were led by the international pairing of Naga's Om Thavrak and Khemara's Kouch Sokumpheak and it was Thavrak who was smiling for much of the match as Naga went two goals ahead. Teab Vathanak finished with aplomb after half an hour and then Sunday Okonkwo added a second. It looked like the points were in the bag for Naga. But Khemara are a team that don't lie down easily and Alichigozie Anthony and then skipper Sokumpheak, with a sublime glancing header, rescued a point with two goals in the last twenty minutes. Honours even though Khemara felt it was a moral victory as their celebrations at the end showed.
A serious Phnom Penh Crown line-up before their 2-0 success over Kirivong this afternoon
Kirivong attempt one of the more unusual pre-match photo line-ups, but they need more practice
All eyes are on the referee and his coin before the Crown and Kirivong match
Great to see the two international teammates and club captains have time for a smile as they lead their teams onto the pitch in the Naga versus Khemara game
A final handshake between Sokumpheak (blue) and Thavrak (red) before battle commences
Naga Corp line up before the match begins, a match they probably should've won
The Khemara Keila starting eleven, who rescued a point in the last 20 minutes
Cutting-edge technology in the press box at this afternoon's feast of football - Phnom Penh Post journo Dene Mullen plays with his satellite link (joke)
And finally, our lovely peanut seller now has a number 2 who she is grooming to take over her peanut empire pending her upcoming marriage



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank U for photos and scores Andy ;)!!

Oh !! Our lovely pennut-sellers is come-back !! What ?? her upcoming marriage .. oh no i'm so sad .. my heart is broken LOL ^^ !!


June 25, 2009 at 4:16 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

oh sorry, the marriage bit was me dreaming don't see a ring on her finger so I think she is still available for marriage but you will have to become her best peanut customer to win her heart.

June 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger CHAMROEUN said...

Sokumpheak is my favorite star.

June 25, 2009 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Kouch Sokumpheak is without doubt the best Cambodian striker at this moment, he's on fire. He has a great awareness of his surroundings, the ability to find space and he's an good finisher. Added to that he's got a great knack of being able to link up with colleagues and as a goal scorer and a goal maker, he is having a great season so far. Long may it continue. He's not playing for one of the most fashionable clubs, Khemara aren't festooned with international players, but he makes them tick and as captain, he wears the Khemara shirt proudly.

June 25, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me to, Sukumpheak is one of my favorite player .. i am very nostalgic about Khemara .. when they was champion of CPL and in semi-final in AFC President's Cup.

For me it's the more mythic team in Cambodia.

Do U remember the name of the north-korean striker was played in Khemara when the team go in semi-final of AFC President's Cup ?

This guy was very strong !


June 25, 2009 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

After watching the semi finals of the Confederation Cup today, the following question arose in my mind: When, if ever, will Cambodia be ready to compete on the international Football stage?

What say you? What do think are the biggest obstacles?

June 26, 2009 at 4:49 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

you raise a good point...and its one which the new Cambodian team coach Scott O'Donell has been charged with making it happen. But it won't happen overnight or in the next year or two or even five. They can compete now but they would be swamped by the class teams in the international game.
It needs to be a step by step process whereby they can compete with teams in the Asian region 1st, like Vietnam and Thailand and Singapore for example. There is some way to go before we get on a par with them and then the next step is to get to a level that is comparable with the better ranked FIFA teams.
Oh so much needs to be done and it all starts at grassroots level and the state and standard of the game here in Cambodia. Professional coaching is a key element, as most Cambodian players do not receive a sufficient standard of coaching until they are effectively too old and set in their ways. In other countries for example, good coaching starts early, even before their teens. There's also the natural athleticism of the Cambodian players to take into account, but that can be helped with proper diets and strength-building regimes, though most Khmer players are rather short in stature and body strength. We can see that when they come up against the African players in the current CPL games.
There is a lot more besides but as you can see its all pretty fundamental stuff that needs to be done, from the bottom up and that takes years not months. So I don't see Cambodia competing on the international stage to a level that would see us make the World Cup for example, for a while yet. But we must start somewhere and under Scott O'Donell we have what I hope will be the beginning of an influence of professional coaches coming to assist in the development of football here in the Kingdom.
Fingers crossed.

June 26, 2009 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Thank you for replying. Good point about coaching as consistency and stability are not Cambodia's strong points.

However, I think the fierce, organic strength and passion of Cambodians will overcome the hurdles and have them competing in the future. I'll be cheerleading every step of the way!

June 26, 2009 at 10:26 PM  

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