Thierry calls time
|A cartoon of Bin Thierry in his national kit, courtesy of KC Khmer Cartoons|
"Anyone that knows me will understand that one of the proudest moments of my life was pulling on the Cambodian national football team jersey to represent the country of my parents birth. Playing for the Khmer-Europe team and being welcomed to Cambodian football by Phnom Penh Crown FC was the start of a fantastic journey for me. It made the possibility of playing for Cambodia a reality and I was very happy to be selected for the Cambodia U-23 SEA Games squad. To then play against Malaysia, Laos and Thailand in the BIDC Cup was a dream come true. My dad even came over from France to watch my matches. The support and encouragement of the Cambodian football fans has made the experience even better than I could've ever hoped for. For these reasons, it is with considerable regret that I am announcing my retirement from the Cambodian national football team, with immediate effect due to personal reasons, which I will not divulge at this time. This has been a very painful and difficult decision for me to make, but with the support of the people closest to me, I believe it is one I have to make. LONG LIVE CAMBODIA!"
The online reaction to the news has been one of incredulity, after the player lived up to his messiah-like reputation with some excellent performances in last week's matches in the six-nation BIDC Cup. Cambodia were using the competition as a warm-up for their trip to Myanmar in the SEA Games at the start of next month. Now, they will have to do without arguably their most influential player. Meanwhile, Thierry will re-join his Crown colleagues in time for a week-long tournament in Nanning, southern China from Thursday of this week.
Since his arrival in Phnom Penh from France just over a year ago, where he was welcomed by no less than half a dozen television channels at the airport, his every move has been scrutinized. His performances on the pitch for Phnom Penh Crown won him many admirers and a call-up and starting berth in the SEA Games squad, while his off the field activities have earned him billboards advertising the Give Blood campaign, Bruntys Premium Cider and True Brands sportswear. His story has been covered in both the English-language and Khmer newspapers and magazines, he's got his own YouTube video (http://youtu.be/SZbvdWOR6b0) and he's even found time for a few arty pictures taken with his girlfriend model. One might question where he finds the time to play football. Well, with his decision today, he'll have a bit more spare time on his hands.
|Thierry relaxing away from the football field with his model girlfriend - courtesy of Peter Phoeng|