Saturday, July 27, 2013

Filled with pride

The Crown Academy boys before today's game with Vietnam PVF
The Phnom Penh Crown Academy youngsters finished their memorable season with a 2-1 defeat to the visiting Vietnam PVF team this afternoon but can look back on a season where they came of age. Despite finishing bottom of the six-team group, with two points from ten matches, taking part in the Asean-wide competition and travelling every other weekend to countries like Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia when you are 14 or 15 years old is something not to be sniffed at. The exposure and the experiences will stay with these youngsters for a long time and they've done what no other Cambodian footballer, youth or senior, has ever done before. They are pioneers and most likely they will be doing the same again next year too. I've been fortunate to watch these kids grow from their first day at the Crown Academy over two and half years ago, some of them had never even played organised football before, and to see them now fills me with immense pride. I was lucky enough to go to Timor-Leste with the boys and they were the best ambassadors a country could ever wish to have with their impeccable behaviour off the field, and their fabulous football talents on the pitch. Of course they would've loved to have won some matches but they gave their best and showed that Cambodian youths deserve to be on the same platform as those other countries. This is the first step on the road to improving Cambodian football, to understanding what it takes to compete on the same level as other more-advanced countries, and the Crown Academy youngsters are leading the way forwards.



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