Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Losing Their Crown?!

As a football club Phnom Penh Crown are doing much right. There is a professionalism about them that appears to be lacking in other CLeague clubs. They have a small range ofmerchandising available and, more important, they are investing in youth with an academy designed to attract the kingdom’s finest talents.

Internationally yoo they are making an impression. They are regular competitors in the Singapore Cup though successive draws against SAFFC this year and Etoile last mean they never stick around too long. They are also through to the next round of the AFC President’s Cup later this year.

Backed by the deep pockets of a Khmer businessman they are a club that is thinking and looking beyond the narrow confines of Cambodian football.

But all them grandiose ideas and schemes will come to naught if the team does not perform on the field. OK, you can accept losing 4-0 to SAFFC in the Singapore Cup. They are a very experienced team used to winning things. And losing to Naga Corp is no big tragedy in the scheme of things. Naga Copr too have their own dreams and aspirations and at the half way point in the CLeague they are by far the league’s top scorers.

But to lose 4-0, basically to have lost game long before half time. To have one player red carded, have another substituted before he earned a red, to have conceded four without even threatening to do anything up front…all this in a first half where Phnom Penh Crown were all over the place. Ill disciplined tactically inept, lacking imagination and guile.

Credit to Naga Corp. they went for the jugular from the get go and once they were two up in the first 10 minutes they were rarely troubled. They were pacy and direct, everything PPC were not.

Kingsley Njoku was successful in Singapore with Gombak United for a few seasons where he formed a potent partnership with Agu Casmir and Gabriel Obatola. He looked a shadow of that player against Naga Corp. finally, on about 88 mins he went on a surging run, brushing off defenders, battling the uneven surface, and fired across the face of the goal. His reward? To be substituted!

Playing teams from Singapore and Bangladesh may seem glamorous, a relative term, but that must be earned on the bumpy pitches of the CLeague against what is mostly mediocre opposition. And against Naga Corp, a top of the table clash, they weren’t up for it.

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