Thursday, May 24, 2012

Academy pride

The Cambodian U-14s on the front page of the PPCFC website
The Academy youngsters at Phnom Penh Crown have grown tremendously since they came from all corners of Cambodia to join the club's residential full-time football Academy at the beginning of last year. 22 young boys who are rapidly becoming young men and who train to become professional footballers every morning, and attend private school each afternoon, fully paid for by the Crown president Rithy Samnang. 17 of them have just been selected for the Cambodia U-14 national team who will next week join the AFC Festival of Football in Malaysia, the first real opportunity they will have to test themselves and their skills against same age-group youngsters from eleven other SE Asia nations including Australia. It will be an awesome experience for them and under their national coach Bouy Dary, who also happens to be their full-time mentor at the Crown Academy, they are in the best possible hands. I'm not being overly dramatic when I say that the future of Cambodian football is in the hands, and feet, of these youngsters. They have shown they are streets ahead of any of their peers within Cambodia, now is the time to expose themselves to a much wider range of opponents and situations. I have been fortunate to watch them grow and improve at close quarters and I just wish I was able to be in Malaysia to see them represent their country with pride.

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