Monday, March 14, 2011
Today had an international flavour to it whilst I was awaiting the results of the draw for the AFC President's Cup, contested by the football champions of the countries flagged by the Asian Football Confederation as emerging nations. Cambodia is one such nation, emerging from the doldrums of decades past and at last beginning to make up for lost time. Their reigning football league champions are the team I act as press officer for, namely Phnom Penh Crown. It's unusual for a Cambodian football team to have a press officer full stop. But Crown are no ordinary club. They are intent on going places and making a splash in regional Asian football circles is one of their goals this season. The AFC President's Cup is one such competition where they can raise the profile of not just the club, but for Cambodian football too. So intent are they that they have taken the unprecedented step of hosting one of the three groups that make up the competition. And joining them in late May, with all six matches to be played at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, will be teams from three other emerging nations, Kyrgyzstan, one of the breakaway Stan republics, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Whilst this added burden may give Cambodia home advantage in their quest for glory, it will also bring the spotlight of Asian football onto the country and their ability to host such a competition. The country's football federation and the club will be under scrutiny, so the pressure is on. I don't know the extent of my involvement yet but it looks likely that I'll have my work cut out. Fortunately, we have just published a sixteen page yearbook that is also a first in Cambodian football and this will stand us in good stead in publicising the team abroad and amongst the international media. You can read the yearbook here.