As the reigning champions, as well as the most successful club in the history of Cambodia, many people wonder what it is that makes the club tick. BPVE went to not only watch them training, but indeed find out what their secret is.
To read our Phnom Penh Crown club profile click here.
When you are the most successful club in the history of a country then people would expect you to be a bit arrogant, but this is not the feeling you get when you visit Phnom Penh Crown.
On arrival to the Smart RSN Stadium we were immediately greeted by General-Manager Heang Ny, who right away took us to a youth match taking place next to the mains stadium “This is part of the Smart youth league that we have helped organize. So far we’ve had more than 48 clubs apply to take part, as well as almost 500 players. It will only last 3 months initially, but we hope to continue. Young players don’t have enough chances to play right now. We want to help fix this”.
Cambodia notoriously lacks a reserve, or development league meaning young players tend to get less pitch time, again something the new youth league would help to fix according to Ly who added “We run from under 10’s up to under 20’s as well as offering a women’s section. Because we have the facilities we can run this relatively cheaply, as well as help develop not just players, but also referees”.
A project he, as well as many stakeholders hope both the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) and the Cambodian Premier League (CPL) can get behind.
To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here.
The Smart RSN Stadium
Named after the main sponsor, Smart, as well as the tycoon and former owner Rithy Samnang, who tragically died last year, the ground is almost sacred hallowed turf when it comes to Cambodian football.
Currently it is going through renovations in order to be a host for women’s events at the upcoming 2023 SEA Games, but the noise of construction takes nothing away from the atmosphere of the 5,000 capacity stadium,.
And of course ni trip here would be complete without seeing the trophy cabinet, which not only boasts the last ever Cambodian League trophy, but also the only CPL and League Cup’s. All this success is looked down upon by a portrait of Rithy Samnang a key ingredient to much of this success.
Yet while impressive, it is far from gaudy, or over the top, sticking with the club ethos of community and youth.
Phnom Penh Crown 2023
And there was the training itself. Crown boast an extremely modern setup by local standards, but as we got to the pitch the players were involved in a training match. Despite just being a “friendly” there was obviously a lot of talent on display, from youth to established foreigners such as the Colombian forward Neto.
Heang Ny as our guide was happy to point out the various new signings, as well as the youth coming through, something he took particular pride in “We have won the last two championships not by signing lots of players, but from developing youth”.
As training finished head coach Oleg Starynkyi a native of Ukraine was happy to talk to us about the team and their aims “We want to make history by being the first team to win three league titles in a row” – something even the boldest of gamblers might be foolish to bet against.
You can read our full interview with Oleg here.
It really is hard to be impressed by the setup at Phnom Penh Crown and success wise it certainly looks like they are not going away anywhere soon.
You can check out the Phnom Penh Crown Facebook here.
This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.
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