Sunday, September 27, 2009

More from the final

The plucky Khemara Keila line-up before the final against Naga, led by Kuoch Sokumpheak
Here's a few more photos from Saturday's CPL Super 4 final between Naga Corp and Khemara Keila. It wasn't a classic but it was hard-fought and the two evenly-matched teams put on a good show for their noisy fans. Most weekends the CPL games are deathly quiet affairs, so it was great to hear the fans get behind their teams with chanting, drums and a trumpet player who brought the house down every time he played. More of the same each week please, and especially for the international game against Singapore later today.
I did have a gripe about the final on Saturday. All seats in the VIP area were allocated to sponsors, or johnny-come-latelys as I call them, so I had to sit on the concrete steps with the Khemara fans to watch the game. I didn't even bother with the 'press steps' as the view was at the back of the stand and restricted. Effectively, the press were brushed aside and ignored in favour of the VIP guests, who turn up once a year and oust the people who turn up week in, week out. Why am I not surprised. In addition, the heavy-handed security, or heavy-footed in my case, kicked my drink under the step and stood directly in my line of sight for part of the game, despite my plea for him to move. A word to the FFC, if you want good press, look after your press corps better.
The Naga Corp bench just before the final kicks off
The golden boot winner with 21 goals, Uche Prince Justine from Spark FC, winner of a 2 million riel reward
This is the Naga version of the victory slide, which wasn't too successful
A look behind the scenes as Khemara receive their runners-up medals
The bright, shiny CPL Championship Cup ready and waiting
The top VIP was the Minister of Tourism HE Thong Khon (in white), who's also head of the Cambodian Olympic Committee
The Naga supporters in the main stand certainly made themselves heard



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know your the owner of the blog but so many people have come to enjoy it as a source of info and goings on in Cambodia. Would it be possible to make another link and separate the football from the other Cambodia musings?

September 27, 2009 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Anon, the football coverage will effectively cease very soon as the football season has now finished here. As football is part of my life here in Cambodia then I am not going to separate the blog into two sections. It is what it is. I can understand that culture enthusiasts may not like my football posts but of course you can always skip over and ignore them altogether.
Cheers, Andy

September 27, 2009 at 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Andy, possibly you were too busy running all over the place to focus on the game. I saw a deadbeat match of two teams who were striving not to lose; is this the best what Cambodia has on offer? Even the fans fell in sleep. Khemara specialized in whacking the ball up front but if you have 8 guys in defense and two upfront it means you have no mid field. Naga were gifted the space and had no clue what to do. Could someone have given a decent cross? Were the Naga/Khemara strikers the best? Come on, they get paid to head the ball in the goal you'd think.
Probably both managers had a lot to do with killing the game, once Khemera were down they became much more stronger and creative.
Blame the refs? I thought the refs did a good job considering that whatever they do will be questioned and leads to childish tantrums allround.
Are Naga the best team? No, Crown despite shooting themselves in the foot in the semi's with pedantic's are still the best team: best players, best strikers, collective strength, etc., etc. They lost the one match by taking their eyes off the ball and focusing on the ref.
Anyway, considering you'll be out of a job until the next competition starts maybe you mite want to find out how the games takes place on the pitch.


September 28, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Rick,
that's football for you, we all see a different game. yes I run about a lot but I do watch the games! As the match reporter for Phnom Penh Post, its my main task!
Of course the teams didn't want to lose, it was a cup final, and many such finals do not produce the best games, full of free-flowing football and bags of goals.
Khemara and Naga weren't the best teams in the league, the table says that but they did their homework, played the system and earned their way to the final. I thought the game was good enough, it got exciting in extra time and though it wasn't the best game this season by a long chalk, it was good enough in my opinion. But that's what its all about have yours and I have mine.

I have lowered my expectation level in terms of the quality of the football I watch here. I can't expect them to be at the level of British or European teams as Cambodia is still at the early stages of their development. There's much work to do to make the teams more professional and the football of a higher standard, but its happening as we speak.

As for the refereeing standards, they must improve. In my view they are simply not good enough right now, but its a collective thing and the teams must play their part too. There's far too much play-acting for example. However, the small number of referees that officiate in the CPL means their mistakes and decisions are magnified, but that's why there's a big push to improve the standards of the match officials in the CPL right now. They could start by demanding that throw-ins are taken properly by everyone!

Phnom Penh were inconsistent this season even though they headed the league table. They are the money-bags of the CPL and also the club that moan and groan the loudest. Their performance in the 3rd place game was a disgrace and they should be fined and deducted points at the start of next season. They walked off the pitch - that cannot be tolerated in any fashion. PP Crown are NOT bigger than the league. I have some sympathy as I believe the league winners should be the league champions, but Crown knew the score from the start and whining about it at the end just demonstrates what poor losers they are.

September 28, 2009 at 9:27 AM  

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