Monday, May 09, 2011
Cambodia Hosts AFC President's Cup
Cambodia will host six matches in Group A of the qualifying round of this year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup from 21-25 May 2011 at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh. This is the first time that Cambodia has hosted such a prestigious international football competition for club teams, with the national Cambodian League champions, Phnom Penh Crown working in close harmony with the Football Federation of Cambodia to stage the event.
The AFC President’s Cup is competed for by what the AFC, the host association of 47 member countries throughout Asia, describe as ‘emerging’ nations, with the national league champions of twelve countries taking part, from Bangladesh (Abahani), Bhutan (Yeedzin), Cambodia (Phnom Penh Crown), Chinese Taipei (Taiwan Power Company), Kyrgyzstan (Neftchi), Myanmar (Yadanarbon), Nepal (Nepal Police Club), Pakistan (Wapda), Palestine (Jabal Al-Mukaber), Sri Lanka (Don Bosco SC), Tajikistan (FC Istiklol) and Turkmenistan (FC Balkan).
For this year’s competition, the three qualifying groups are being staged in Cambodia (Group A), Myanmar (Group B) and Nepal (Group C). The top two teams from each group will qualify for the six-team finals to be played at a venue to be announced at a later date. The winners of the AFC President’s Cup will receive the trophy and prize money of USD50,000.
For the Group A matches, Phnom Penh Crown, as Cambodia’s champions, will meet the national league champions of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan. Don Bosco Sports Club from Negombo won the Sri Lankan Dialog Champions League in January to qualify for the AFC President’s Cup. The Bangladesh champions are Abahani Limited from Dhaka, who have won the country's professional league for the last three seasons.Neftchi of Kochkor-Ata, in the southwest of the former Russian Republic of Kyrgyzstan, won their championship for the first time last season.
The kick-off times for the six Group A matches, all of which will be played at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, are as follows:
Saturday 21 May 2011:
1.30pm Neftchi (KGZ) v Abahani (BAN):
4pm PPCFC (CAM) v Don Bosco (SRI)
Monday 23 May 2011:
1.30pm Don Bosco (SRI) v Neftchi (KGZ):
4pm Abahani (BAN) v PPCFC (CAM)
Wednesday 25 May 2011:
1.30pm Abahani (BAN) v Don Bosco (SRI):
4pm PPCFC (CAM) v Neftchi (KGZ)
The Phnom Penh Crown matches will be screened live on Cambodian television with two TV stations, Bayon TV and TVK covering all three of Crown’s matches.
Historically, no Cambodian club side has ever won the AFC President’s Cup since the competition began in 2005. The best placing was a semi-final spot for Khemara in 2006. Phnom Penh Crown have competed in the AFC President’s Cup on two previous occasions, as Hello United in 2005 and again in 2009. Phnom Penh Crown qualified for this year’s competition by winning the Metfone C-League championship in 2010, with a 4-3 play-off final success against Preah Khan Reach.
This is the most illustrious club football competition ever to be held in Cambodia. With Phnom Penh Crown and the Football Federation of Cambodia working together to host the event, the country’s entry onto the international club football stage is a positive step forwards for the promotion of football in the Cambodia and across Asia. Forward-thinking Phnom Penh Crown are genuinely committed to raising the level of professionalism and standards of football in Cambodia, both on the domestic scene as champions and current leaders of the Metfone Cambodian League as well as with their Elite Football Academy, the first residential academy for young footballers in the country, which they began a few months ago.