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2 hours ago, oche balboa said:

Loving this story. Good to see the depth to this as well. Loads to learn about Cambodia league as well 

 

KUTGW!!!

Thankyou oche. Glad you are enjoying it 

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Part 43. Putting All Our Eggs In One Basket

 

The league has gone for this season, that is without doubt, but we have managed to put together a decent cup run and have made it to the Quarter Finals of the Hun Sen Cup. The only problem is we have been drawn against Boeung Ket, who are one of the better teams in the Kingdom of Cambodia. We are a developing team, which is one or two seasons short, providing we can keep the squad together, from making a real splash and challenge for the C-League title once more. For now though it is about trying to find that winning formula and finishing as high in the league as we possibly can. As for the cup, there is no doubt we can win it, if we can overcome the Quarter Final obstacle that lies in wait. Firstly though we must tackle the bread and butter of the league. Our first opponents are guess who- Boeung Ket, a dress rehearsal for the Quarter Final showdown on the horizon.

Match 19: Boeung Ket v EDC 17/07/23

It’s our opponent’s turn to seek revenge on us, but I am confident we can do well and come back with three points from our trip to Boeung Ket. They have been labelled in the match build up as being “troubled,” but they lie in 3rd. We could claim 5th spot if we win. Unfortunately suspensions have forced us into changes in the back four, so Daravon returns for Gbayoro, while Makara partners him in defence. Pidor is preferred to Tuy Oudom on the right flank and Vannak replaces the suspended Kakada in the DMC role.

Team: Som, Ratana, Daravon, Makara, Teat Chandara, Vannak, Samnanag, Rattanak, Pidor, Noron, Suhana

Match Action

It’s a highly competitive opening ten in which we have the larger share of possession, but apart from a couple of blocked shots from distance, create very little. Sotheaven, their left winger looks like he can play and when he gets in behind on the left wing, his cross is met by Omakefe, which forced a fine stop from Som. The same player then picks up the ball on the halfway line and skins Ratana before marching into the penalty area unchallenged and slotting past Som for the opening goal. Out of completely nowhere they get a second when Chhoeun fired in a free kick. This is not looking good..

Then from another free kick out of nowhere Meas Mony Udom does his best David Beckham impressions and fires home another free kick. There’s just no way we can win with the FM gods in such a filthy mood…

Chan Polroth added a fourth with a stooping header. Chhoeun whacked home a fifth, we’d given up by now.. Taboula poked home a late consolation from Vannak’s flighted ball into the box, but far too little and far too late. I hate this stupid game! There was a water bottle with a massive dent in it left in the middle of the visitor’s dressing room at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium as we trooped home to our little corner of the Capital.

Final Score Boeung Ket 5-1 EDC

Sotheaven 30                             Taboula 89

Chhchoen 35,84

Udom 52

Polroth 72

Match 20: EDC v National Police 22/07/23

The Cambodian constabulary come to town with us still licking our wounds from the Boeung Ket game. The Old Bill however find themselves in a spot of bother down the wrong end of the table in 12th place, the top relegation spot. We are in 8th, too good to go down, but nowhere near strong enough to challenge for the title this year.

I revert to an attacking 4-4-2 with the suspended players returning to strengthen the team. Young Nhem is given another opportunity up front with Mat Noron.

Team: Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Teat Chandara, Kakada, Rattanak, Oudom, Nhem, Noron, Pidor

Match Action

We sweep forward from the kick off and Noron heads over from a Pidor cross. Then disaster.. Rattanak one of our better players goes down clutching his leg. He is quickly substituted for Chea Samnang. We dominate the game, but once again our bark is worse than our bite and we create little, save for a couple of headers well over the bar and a speculative Pidor effort which was comfortably saved by the keeper. 0-0 at half time, 10-0 on shots to EDC.

In the second half their impressive striker Chitra provides their only piece of quality in the game and forces a good save from Som, while a flowing move from us resulted in Samnang shooting tamely at the keeper. Substitute Taboula flashes a header just wide from an Oudom cross, then the Nigerian forces an excellent save from the keeper. The score remains 0-0. Oudom and Samnang combine but once again the keeper makes a fine save from the midfielder. He’s not given up yet though, as he exchanges passes with Kakada before striding forward to the edge of the area and unleashing a blinding shot which blasts into the top corner. Pick that one out Searg! 1-0 to the EDC,.,

The cops charged forward with Chitra looking ever more dangerous and their right winger, Soksela finding too much space on the right. We were hanginig on by the end, but a deserved win it was. We’ve now done the double over everybody’s least favourite team, who may well be demoted in rank to the Second Division next season.

Final Score EDC 1-0 National Police

Samnang 83

 

League Table

Phnom Penh Crown 42

Nagaworld 39

Boeung Ket 33

Khemera 28

EDC 27

Angkor Tiger 25

Prek Pra 25

Chmao Khmao 24

Wat Phnom 19

Mondul Kiri 15

Solitio Angkor 14

Chllam Samuth 14

National Police 13

Vishaka 7

 

Match 21: EDC v Phnom Penh Crown

We take on the league leaders, Phnom Penh Crown with basically nothing to lose, as our team lies in 6th with 27 points. I am going to play a cautious 4-3-2-1. They have good players, including Debeiro their experienced Nigerian who has been firing in the goals for them. Meanwhile we have a some decent ones who are in reasonable form and our job is to try and derail their title ambitions on what could be considered a tricky trip to the EDC stadium. Banana skins at the ready!

Team: 4-3-2-1: Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Teat Chandara, Vannak, Kakada, Rattanak, Oudom, Noron, Pidor

Match Action

We have started much the better side, but create little in the opening fifteen. Then Rattanak shows his quality by sliding a lovely through ball to the onrushing Noron, but he disappointingly shoots wide.

Then Miroslav Klose leaves his cruel mark on the game. Their goalkeeper, Aim Sovrannath hits a perfect 80 yard goal kick straight into the path of Debeiro, who makes no mistake. All our good work undone by a stupid bug..

We finish the half once again the better team, but fail to create a significant chance, while looking pretty solid defensively. 0-1 at half time.

Into the second half and we have good posession on the right hand side as Ratana finds Rattanak. He burrows his way through to the edge of the area where he is tackled, but Chea Samnang pokes the ball through to the onrushing Noron who whacks the ball against the post., How unlucky!

Chea Samnang picks the ball up in midfield but he is tackled, but the ball falls to Min Rattanak who surges forward before playing in sub Pelap Taboula with one of his trademark through balls. The Nigerian smashes the ball into the corner of the net to make it an emphatic 1-1!

The Crown attack. They aren’t giving this up easily. Their full backs are attacking, but this leaves more gaps for us to exploit on the counter attack. Tuy Oudom gallops down the right before collapsing in a heap on the floor… He’s done his hammy and is yelping in pain.. I’ve used all my substitutes, so I put Rattanak on the right wing, even though he is ‘inneffectual’ there. The Crown smell blood and the shots fly in on our goal, but our defence holds firm. They throw their bodies in the way of the ball and are like terriers in the tackle. It’s late in the game, but we have the ball. Rattanak and Taboula combine and yet another through ball sends the young Nigerian galloping into the box. He cooly takes the ball round the keeper and slots it into the empty net with the defender lying in his wake. Brilliance from the youngster! The EDC fans go into raptures at the far end. The league leaders are not finished yet though. The ball is played up to Debeiro, but Khemarin takes him out, Surely a red card for the veteran defender.. “The referee keeps his cards in his pocket on this occasion” Crown are protesting but the ref waves play on. Chea Samnang picks up the ball and it is his turn to slip in Taboula who slides the ball confidently under the keeper for a brilliant second half hat-trick. Magnificent! What a performance! We have put a spanner in the works of Phnom Penh Crown’s title bid and ourselves climb to 5th! On our day we can beat anyone in this league!

Final Score: EDC 3-1 Phnom Penh Crown

Taboula 63, 92, 94              Debeiro 30

 

Match 22: EDC v Boeung Ket – Hun Sen Cup Quarter Final 01/08/23

There is all to play for as Cup fever threatens to disrupt Cambodia’s electricity supply once again!  Boeung Ket are in town, but it is us who are seeking revenge after being walloped by them 5-1. I stick with the same team except for Suhana coming in for the injured Oudom on the wing. Confidence is high after our demolotion of Phnom Penh Crown, Ket are a better side in my opinion despite their reported financial problems. The semi final will see us take on either Chllam Samuth or Chhma Kao, a very winnable route to the final..

Team: Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Teat Chandara, Vannak, Kakada, Rattanak, Pidor, Noron, Suhana

Match Action

We are absolutely dominating proceedings. Noron and Pidor link up smartly      and the young winger has his shot saved low down. Ket have not been in our half. Our dominance gets its rewards when left back, Teat Chandara picks up the ball in space and delivers a peach of cross for Mat Noron to connect and divert the ball home. The type of cross players like Noron thrive on!

Suhana danced down the right and Noron flashes a header into the keeper’s arms. A breakaway almost leads to Omakafe equalising but Som blocks the Nigerian’s shot with his feet when through on goal.

The goal number 2. Pidor and Sin Kakada combine. The midfielder flights a lovely ball into the box for the onrushing Noron to place the ball past the keeper on the half volley. Lovely goal! 2-0 half time lead. Electrifying stuff from the EDC!!

Into the second half, surely Boeung Ket can’t be as bad as in the first half. We have been magnificent so far. Mat Noron fizzes a shot wide from a Ratana cross.

Ket finally wake up. The dangerous Sotavithen gets down the left and his cross is met by the head of Omakafe saved by Som. Then from a corner the goalkeeper tips the ball over the bar.

We respond well. Noron has a dipping shot tipped over the bar after some brilliant breakaway play from sub Mat Dara and Pidor. We re-assert our dominance and see it through to the end brilliantly. Onto the semis we go and we can almost taste it!

Final Score: EDC 2-0 Boeung Ket

Noron 12,37

Match 23: Angkor Tiger v EDC

The curse of the C-League Champions has struck Angkor Tiger who lie in 6th place, one below us in 5th. They still have a good side though, with the familiar face of Sung Rot in their team, along with former Nagaworld striker, Kawabata who can cause us problems too. I’m trying to maintain consistency in selection where possible and so go in with the same team which so comprehensively despatched Boeung Ket from the Hun Sen Cup.

Team: 4-2-3-1: Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Teat Chandara, Vannak, Kakada, Rattanak, Pidor, Noron, Suhana

Match Action

Angkor Tiger mean business here and they dominate the opening twenty, but have little to show for it. We seem a bit buried in our own half, with Noron isolated up front. We spring to life and a lovely switch of play from Pidor lets in Sos Suhana, whose stinging shot thunders against the crossbar. They have a goal disallowed when Okereke pokes the ball home, but is just offside. Nil all at the break but they have been the far better side.

We start brightly. Rattanak plays the ball through to Pidor, but his low shot is tipped round the post. They have a breakaway which results in Som tipping the ball wide after the most ridiculous throw in from Suhana which hit the head of the defender. How this is still 0-0 I’m not sure.

Then from a random free kick the ball is flicked on at the near post and Polroth nips in to divert the ball past Som for to be honest a deserved goal.

We rouse ourselves and play a more direct game. This almost pays off as the ball is played to the onrushing Taboula who finishes with aplomb for an undeserved equaliser.. which is ruled out for offside. We didn’t deserve it anyway and we are now only playing for pride in the league.

Final Score: Angkor Tiger 1-0 EDC

                          Polroth 86

While just playing for pride in the league, EDC march on to the semis of The Hun Sen Cup. Is this the beginning of something special for our friends electric, or will it result in another epic failure? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

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Part 44 - A One Match Season

The Road To Mondul Kiri

In the Cambodian C-League, most of the football teams, including ourselves are based in the capital, Phnom Penh. One of the exceptions is the newly promoted side, Mondul Kiri who are based 6 hours away from the capital to the east on the Vietnamese border. Cambodia is a deceptively large country and six hours equivalent would be like travelling from somewhere like Middlesbrough to London in the UK. This was a proper away day where we would have to travel together as a team on a coach and also take in the beautiful countryside of which this country has to offer. It is the largest and most sparsely populated provinces in Cambodia and was badly affected by the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.

Nowadays it is known for its outstanding natural beauty, rainforest and waterfalls. It is also unfortunately rife with illegal deforestation and loggers who seek to make profit from the area’s natural resources. MondulKiri is also home to the indigenous Bunong tribes, which can be seen walking the roads around the province.

Mondul Kiri is home to several nature reserves, including its very own elephant sanctuary. As we would be making the long journey out there a couple of days before the match I arranged a trip here as a piece of Community Outreach. Some of my players had seldom been out of Phnom Penh, apart from footballing reasons, I felt it was important for them to explore some of the remoter parts of their country. It was great for them to learn the good work of the sanctuary in protecting elephants from illegal hunters. For me it was a huge eyeopener and yet another experience in this fascinating country.

On the way to the region’s capital, Sen Monorom the devastation caused by illegal logging of the area’s precious natural rainforest and jungle was very sad to see as it was a beautiful journey to a lovely part of Cambodia we did not normally get to see. So to the football.

Match 24: Mondul Kiri v EDC 12/08/23

Cambodia’s answer to San Marino have managed to keep their heads above water this season and lie one point above the relegation places in 10th. We are in 6th and out of the Championship race, but three points here will help us to finish as high up the table as we can. We are pretty safe, thirteen points above the drop zone. I’m starting to get a little experimental in my selection to give some of the promising youngsters a chance. Therefore I give young Makara Um his debut at left back, while the impressive Nhem starts up front alongside a resurgent Taboula, with Noron rested to the bench. Ratana and Kakada are suspended, so in come In Samabath at right back and Um Makara in DMC.

Team: 4-4-2 Som, Sambath, Daravon, Gbayoro, Um, Makara, Rattanak, Touch Van, Taboula, Nhem, Pidor

Match Action

We attack with menace and Pidor runs at the heart of the defence. He lays it off to Taboula whose stinging shot is parried by the keeper at full stretch. They lob the ball forward, Gbayoro comfortably heads clear to Rattanak. The Cambodian Gascoigne runs at the heart of the Mondul Kiri defence before lashing the ball into the corner of the net. Great start. 1-0. Then from nowhere they launch an attack and work the ball to Long Piseth on the right. He is in acres of spce.. where’s our flipping left back? He has all the time in the world to pick out Sok Oudom’s head and he plants the ball past Som into the corner. One each. We re-assert our dominance on the game. Daravon picks up the loose ball in the right back position His lofted ball is controlled and crossed by Nhem to Pidor, whose angled shot fizzes into the bottom corner. 2-1.

We attack some more. Young Nhem nearly gets a third with a lovely flick header, but his big toe was offside. 2-1 at the break.

Young Samnag Nhem looks a real player. An outrageous piece of skill on the left flank, leads to a peach of a cross of which sub Noron has his header well saved.

We are in control of the game, but 2-1 is a dodgy lead and we are only one Miroslav Klose bug away from an equaliser. Mat Dara swings in another corner and the ball trickles into the corner of the net off a Mondul Kiri player for an own goal and a deserved 3-1 lead.

Rattanak attempts to make it four with a 30 yard piledriver which is acrobatically saved. A comfortable win against a pretty average side, who did at least show a little more attacking intent this time around.

Final Score: Mondul Kiri 1-3 EDC

Oudom 24                           Rattanak 7

                                             Pidor 38

                                            Piseth o.g 86

 

Match 25: EDC v Chmao Khmao

The pundits are touting us as comfortable favourites for this one and I tend to agree, despite our opponents sitting just slightly below us in 7th. A win here could propel us up to the dizzy heights of fourth, but with the way the table is, with Phnom Penh Crown and Nagaworld so far ahead, the highest we can realistically hope for is third. I go in with a strong side, including all the suspended players from the Mondul Kiri game returning, although I’m giving young Makara Um another chance at left back.

Team: 4-4-2 Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Makara Um, Kakada, Rattanak, Suhana, Taboula, Noron, Pidor

Match Action

We control the game from the off. Rattanak slips in Noron for an early chance, but his shot is parried for a corner by the keeper. Beware of the random free kick from nowhere, which forces a fine save from Som. We need a goal here to get us going. We get one. Suhana cuts in from the left, before laying it back for Sin Kakada. His flighted ball is flicked on by Taboula for the onrushing Matty Noron who half volleys first time into the corner. They respond well. Their striker Soksana has pace to burn and he wins the race against Daravon, before hitting the side netting with his final shot. A warning for EDC. Then on the stroke of half time a Daravon free kick from our own half is played to Kakada and then to the Cambodian Gascoigne, who plays a beautiful first time ball, almost without looking for the rejuvenated Pelap Taboula who smashes the ball home for number 2. There’s even time for a third before half time. Noron scampers down the right channel. His little ball inside finds Pidor, whose shot is blocked by the keeper, but stright into the path of Mr Taboula who smacks home the rebound for 3-0.

Early in the second half and we are sloppy. Gbayoro does a great piece of defending, almost Sol Campbell like. He clears but Noron stupidly heads the ball back to where it came from, allowing Soksana and Ly Saroth to combine for the former to slide the ball past Som on his near post. 3-1.

Then a mix up in our defence let in the dangerous Soksana. He squares it to Raymand Etim who lays it right to Saroth to slide into the corner. Wake up EDC!

Chmao Khmao have their tails up now, they smell blood. They are first to every ball and then break with pace. I revert to a 4-2-3-1. In Sambath replaces the inexperienced Makara Um at left back, while Pom Vannak replaces Suhana to build barriers in central midfield, with Taboula playing on the right wing. I also tell my team to ‘focus.’ This seems to have an effect as we are starting to retain the ball better and cutting off their rapid breaks. Pidor has a shot which is tipped over by the keeper. From the resulting corner, the unlikely source of Min Rattanak heads home at the near post to restore a two goal advantage,

Chmao don’t give up and pile on the pressure. They create some chances, we clear one off the line. This is getting ugly. I go defensive, but they keep coming, wave after wave, chance after chance. Somehow we regain control and string some passes together The ever impressive Rattanak has the ball in the centre circle. He passes to Pom Vannak who flights the ball with the outside of his foot to Pelap Taboula. The Nigerian floats it to Pidor on the edge of the area who chests the ball down and half volleys the ball crisply home for the fifth goal and to put the icing on the cake. It’s harsh on the visitors who have had us running scared in the second half, but quality has shone through in the end. Not since the Keegan season have we looked so creative and so full of goals. Taboula was the best player on the park, scoring two and creating two. He could be a key player for us now and in the future.

Final Score: EDC 5-2 Chmao Khmao

Noron 18                        Soksana 47

Taboula 45,46                 Saroth 53

Rattanak 76

Pidor 90

 

Match 26 – EDC v Khmera

Our bogey team, Khemera visit the Electricity Stadium complete with their dodgy diamond formation in midfield. A win today means we can leapfrog them and move up to 4th place. Realistically the highest we can finish is third, but it would be great to come in the top three if we can. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though.. Khemera have our rather useless old right back, Sam Channroeurn in their ranks and line up in a weird 4-1-2-1-2 formation. To combat this I go for my 4-1-3-2 with Rattanak and Samnang providing dual creativity in midfield and the in-form Taboula is up front on his own.

Team: Som, Ratana, Khemarin, Gbayoro, Teat Chandara, Kakada, Samnang, Rattanak, Pidor, Taboula, Suhana

Match Action

We start brightly. Pidor cuts in from the left and feeds Suhana who flashes a shot wide. Khemera lifts the ball forward, but is cut out by Khemarin, who finds Pidor. He flicks it to Chea Samnang who flights a delightful ball into the path of the onrushing Taboula, who takes one touch on the edge of the area and drills it into the corner of the net. Great goal, great start!

Khemera are a good team though and they have a certain Mr Veasna pulling the strings. One such lung bursting run from the former EDC favourite results on him baring down on our goal and but for a fine save from Som would have equalised.

We look dangerous on the break and when the lively Pidor sent Taboula through one on one it looked like we could extend our lead, but the striker’s finish was saved. One nil at the break.

Into the second half, their striker Rany heads over a gilt edge opportunity from a Buheing cross. Should have been 1-1.

A missed header from Khemarin almost lets in Chan Dara but Som saves at his near post. The same player has his shot saved from the ‘unbeatable’ Som in goal. Ravy and Dara combine once more. The former is inside the area, but is brilliantly tackled by Sim Kakada.. no wait.. The referee point to the spot.. Eh? He clearly won the ball.. that tackle was Bobby Moore-esque… But no the ref would have nothing of it.. Penalty. Chea Dara does the rest.

We cannot keep the ball for toffee and they are winning it back to easily. The ball is worked to Suon Veasna.. Close him down! Vannak Close him down.. Too late! Veasna shows me what we have been missing as he fires it effortlessly into the top corner. This man is class. 2-1. I throw on Noron to partner Taboula, but he can do nothing. Our terrible run against Khemera continues..

Final Score: EDC 1-2 Khemera

Taboula 12               Dara 81 (pen)

                                    Veasna 86

 

Rudd signs new 2-year deal

I have put pen to paper on a new two year deal. Our uplift in form, coupled with the promising youngsters in the U21s has made me feel optimistic about the future of the club and I want to try and see the job through.

International Call Ups & Round Up

It seems that my young bucks at EDC have caught the attention of the Cambodian National set up for the latest round of International fixtures. Ouk Ratana remains our sole representative in the main squad, but the Under 23s see call-ups for Rattanak, Pidor, Um Makara, In Sambath and Kong Rafat. Meanwhile in the Under 21s, Nhem Soun Bath and young keeper Sob Vatanak gain recognition.

Min Rattanak turned out to be the star of the show in a 2-1 win for the Cambodian U23s against Macau U23s! Ratana did not fair so well as Cambodia succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Palestine. In the U21s, Samnang Nhem got on the scoresheet in a 2-1 defeat to UAE U21s.

Strange Scheduling in The Hun Sen Cup

The chaotic nature of scheduling for the Hun Sen Cup has really come to the fore with this anomaly. We are due to play our semi final on 11th September 2023, but we do not know who we are playing yet, because Chllam Samuth and Chmao Khmao have yet to play their quarter final. According to their schedule, they are not due to play this fixture until 15th September., What gives??

In the other semi final, which did take place, Nagaworld beat Angkor Tiger 2-1, meaning it would be a repeat of the 2021 Keegan season final if we can win our semi against Samuth or Khmao.

Newsflash: We will play Chllam Samuth after they beat Chmao Khmao on penalties in just four days time. Cheers guys!

Match 27: Chllam Samuth v EDC – Hun Sen Cup Semi Final 

19/09/23

So this is it! The semi final. We seem to have waited ages for this, but now it’s time to put our minds on reaching our second Hun Sen Cup Final, of which we will face Nagaworld. Gaining revenge on them must be put on hold, as we face dangerous, but beatable opposition. In the league game we only just sneaked past them 3-2 and once Keo Udom went off injured they did not look like the same team. As they lie in 10th this makes us favourites, but we are away which may level things up a bit. We know the threat that Keo Udom posseses, but if we can stop him, then in my view we win the game.

We are going to match their 4-2-3-1 in the belief that man for man we have the better players who can win their personal battles. Rattanak and Samnang form a creative duo, feeding the in-form Taboula. Anderson Gbayoro is missing through suspension, so Khemarin once more steps in.

Team: 4-1-2-3 Som, Ratana, Daravon, Khemarin, Chandara, Kakada, Samnang, Rattanak, Suhana, Taboula, Pidor

Match Action

We start brightly Samnang has a shot which blazes over the bar. Then my right back, Ratana keels over, he’s done his knee ligament, this could be a nasty one.. Luckily the versatile In Sambath is on the bench and he replaces the Cambodian International after just five minutes. Then disaster. Panha breaks down the right and curls unstoppable shot past Som. Oh dear!

We respond well. Neat interplay results in a Taboula shot well saved. Udom at the other end nearly makes it two but his header is saved. A nice move down the left results in a Taboula header well saved. Come on boys!! Half ends 1-0 to them.

I try to rally the troops at half time, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I revert to 4-4-2 and throw Noron up front with Taboula, while Tuy Oudom is introduced to add some fizz down the right. They create two gilt edge chances, one when the ball was presented to the opposition by the normally reliable Som. We are lucky to be only 1-0 down here. I Demand More and this spurs them into life.

Daravon wins an important header against his former team-mate Keo Udom. This finds Min Rattanak who for the first time in the game goes on one of his trademark driving runs. He lays it out to Tuy Oudom on the right who strides forward and fires in a low cross to NORON!!!!! The striker drills it first time into the corner of the net. It’s one each.. Come on we’ve got this!!

Samuth have not given up. They are always looking for Mr Udom running in behind, but so far Daravon and Khemarin have been wise to it. Then a random throw in from Tuy Oudom finds Noron who chests it back to the young winger. Once again a fizzing low cross causes havoc in the Samuth defence as it beats two defenders. Sok Ouen Pidor doesn’t miss out though, as he takes a chance and  slams it into the top corner. 2-1 get in! Keo Udom does get on the end of one through ball, but thankfully fired well wide. Taboula at the other end has a goal disallowed for offside which would have finished the game off. We did really need that third goal. Samuth are not giving up and are throwing more bodies forward. Daravon is knackered but I’ve used all my three subs, so Khemarin takes over marking Udom. Samuth attack and attack again, but our defence holds firm. In Sambath, Khemarin, Daravon and Teat Chandara are equal to everything. It is then our substitute full back who delivers the killer blow when he flights an almost Bobby Moore-esque ball through for the on-rushing Matty Noron who pokes it past the advancing keeper. The final whistle goes!!! 3-1 what a win! I have had to use every ounce of my 20 years of Football Manager knowhow to engineer this victory. Cries of “Jonny Rudd’s Electric Army!” rang out as the jubilant fans as they left the ground. NAGAWORLD WE ARE COMING FOR YOU!!!

Final Score: Chllam Samuth 1-3 EDC

                             Panha 11                          Noron 60,90

                                                                        Pidor 73

So EDC are through to their second Hun Sen Cup Final against old foes, Nagaworld. Can Rudd's men gain revenge on the big nasty casino, or will the favourites prevail yet again? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

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Part 45 - Dead Rubbers

 

There is a whole month before I take on the mighty Nagaworld in the Hun Sen Cup Final, so I am afraid I am going to have to leave you in suspense a little longer, however, the next part will be completely dedicated to the cup final. 

Meanwhile there was still plenty to keep us occupied in the run up to the biggest game in EDC's short history as we round off our league campaign.

 

Match 28 Prek Pra v EDC 22/09/23

This is now a one match season. The league is not very important any more, so I’m putting out a more experimental XI against mid-table Prek Pra. Some of our stars are a bit knackered after the cup semi final, but I also wanted to see whether some of our younger and fringe players can cut the mustard at this level, players like Hem Sokha at right back, Rum Sokha a promising young defender who has done well on the odd occasion he has been summoned from the Reserves. Mat Dara has shown in flashes he can also play and gets a start in central midfield. Soun Bath starts as an Inside forward, snaking in from the left to support fellow teenager, Samnang Nhem who starts on his own up front. I have the big guns on the bench, just in case things don’t go to plan..

Team: Som, Hem Sokha, Makara, Run Sokha, In Sambath, Vannak, Chea Samnang, Dara, Oudom, Nhem, Soun Bath

Match Action

They have an early chance when the ball is flicked on and their left winger gets a shot at goal. This does not bode well. They are not letting us out of their half. Hai sweeps a ball to the left where all the danger is coming from and Suhana flick heads the ball past Som. It was coming and I’m beginning to regret resting some players. I revert to a 4-4-2 with out two teenagers up front, Dara on the left. This enables us to get forward in more numbers. A powerful header from a corner Soun Bath forces a fine fingertip save from their keeper. That’s more like it! A fine move involving  the same player and Dara, who is having a good game on the left flank. led to Tuy Oudom’s far post header parried over the bar. 1-0 to them at half time.

We control the second half, as Prek Pra seem to have booked in for bed and breakfast in their own half. I throw on Noron for Nhem and Pidor on for Oudom. We have a lot of possession but create little. Taboula comes on. They look dangerous on the break, but Som is not troubled. Then a rare bit of quality. Samang works the ball to the left where Mat Dara pings in a low cross which is diverted home by Pelap Taboula in the last minute! One each. Both teams push for a winner, but a draw was the final result. Some positives though: Makara and Sokha had excellent games at the heart of the defence and Dara looked good on the left wing. The rest were a bit rubbish to be honest..

Final Score: Prek Pra 1-1 EDC

                   Suhana 9               Taboula 90

 

 

Vishaka Relegated

It’s been coming for a while but the once mighty Vishaka have been relegated. When I first came to Cambodia they were one of the top teams, ladened with foreign talent from South Africa, Japan  and those famous five North Koreans. Since they left things have gone downhill drastically at Vishaka, culminating in a 1-0 defeat to Boeung Ket which saw them do the unthinkable and fall through the trapdoor into the Second Division.

 

Board Confidence Update

Despite me doing quite well with EDC this year the board have given me a fair to middling review., with my highest mark being a B- for support from the squad and my lowest a C for transfer market performance.  For some reason they are reserving judgement until a few more matches have been played, despite the fact we are very near the end of the season and I have been at the club for 4 years..??

 

Rudd Reaches 100 Games In Management

Our next game against Solitio Angkor sees me take charge of EDC for the 100th time. It seems a long time since we dismally lost to the kids of Bati Youth in my first game. Let’s hope I can add some silver ware to my tenure at the Electric Company. Below are a few stats:

Games: 99

Win %: 54%

Games won: 54

Draws: 13

Defeats: 32

Goals for 227

Goals Against 169

Goal Difference: 58

Some of the tweets made by fans are mixed about my reign so far.

“I think maybe it’s time for a new face at EDC. Rudd just isn’t taking us anywhere”

-Ung Chanadara

“Be careful what you wish for ; Rudd is doing a good job it could be so much worse without him.”

 

-        Chhim Vichhika

 

Match 29: Solitio Angkor v EDC 07/10/23

I continue to play out the league season with a trip to Solitio Angkor. I’m going to put a full team out with a few tweaks, but may rest some if I feel the need before the cup final. Angkor are in deep relegation trouble, lying down in 13th place.

Team: Som, In Sambath, Daravon, Gbayoro, Teat Chandara, Kakada, Rattanak, Oudom, Taboula, Noron, Pidor

Match Action

Twenty five minutes have passed of this dead rubber and while we have dominated proceedings, we have little to show for it, Rattanak is probing, Oudom having his crosses blocked and Pidor lively but unable to create much. Our opponents are camped in their own half, with the only real outlet being their star player, Marques. Other than that not much.

On 34 minutes, Pidor flighted a ball in for Noron, who headed into the keeper’s hands. On the break, Solitio have a shot well saved by Som. Then, on the stroke of half time, Pidor picks up the ball and cuts inside from the left. He sprays the ball out to Tuy Oudom on the right wing. The youngster flights a lovely ball into the area, which is guided home first time by Pelap Taboula for his 11th goal of the season. Superb!

Substitute Makara has a stinging shot tipped over the bar after good work from Taboula on the break. Then in the dying minutes, Marques hits the top of the crossbar after an incisive breakaway. That was that. A dour 1-0 win, in a drab game befitting of its end of season dead rubber status. Definitely will be shown last on Cambodian Match of The Day.  On a more positive note, all our players came through unscathed.

Final Score: Solitio Angkor 0-1 EDC

                                                                          Taboula 45

Nhem Shines for Cambodia U19s

My young, promising striker, Samnang Nhem bagged both goals as the Cambodian U-19s dispatched their counterparts from Singapore 2-0 in the U19s Asian Championship Qualifying. Unfortunately my other young striker, Soun Bath did not fare so well for the U19s as he came back injured, putting him out of the cup final. Meanwhile in the first team, Ouk Ratana put in a solid performance as Cambodia beat Hong Kong 2-0. Unfortunately he did not fare so well in the second match as The Angkor Warriors succumbed to a 4-0 defeat by a vastly superior Japanese team. Both matches were in the group stages of the World Cup Qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Youth Intake

In Cambodia, the youth intake day seems to vary from mid October to early November. I should have known this day was nigh when I overheard my effervescent Head of Youth Development, Chan Vannak chatting excitedly to Nen Borey about a player he had found playing in the streets of Phnom Penh. His name was Chhim Pheara and according to Chan, he was going to be the first ever Cambodian wonderkid. Well after seeing him train I don’t think Erling Braut Haaland need worry, but by Cambodian and EDC standards, this guy is certainly one of the better players to come through the ranks during my time at the club.

Other names to join the club are:

Mol Ly – (MR/L) A pacy winger who can play on either side.

Ly Vattanak (DC) -  A tough tackling young defender.

Tola Mao (DMC) – A solid defensive midfielder with good tackling.

Ly Sophorn (DMC) – A hard tackling ball winning midfielder,  but will have to join a long queue in this position

Sok Chanvirak  (ST)– A promising young striker with a finishing stat the same as his age- 16

Enrico Capriati (MC) – A good young midfielder I hope to develop.

Ouk Vibol  (DRC) – A lesser spotted right back in the youth team. Could he come through and make the spot his own one day in the first team?

Sor Chanvirak (ST) A poacher with promise, but he will have to join the back of a long queue of strikers at the club.

 

Vannak Sok (AMC) A creative midfielder with some promise.

Match 30 EDC v Vishaka

In their wisdom, the Cambodian FA have once more scheduled the Hun Sen Cup Final, just two days after a league match. Therefore as this game is a dead rubber against already relegated Vishaka I have made eleven changes in a bid to wrap my star players up in cotton wool. Not much more to be said, other than let’s just get this one over with, we have bigger fish to fry. Besides, win, lose or draw, we will finish once again in 5th place in the C-League this season.

Team: Kong Rafat, Ivonoldo, Sokha, Makara, In Sambath, Vannak, Theara, Touch Van, Chanraksmey, Nhem, Dara

Match Action

We start brightly. Dara makes a lovely run down the left, before squaring for Chanraksmy, who tries to play in Nhem but his shot is blocked. Another attack ends up with Touch Van having a shot well saved by the keeper. Dara has got the bit between his teeth here. Another surge down the left results in him playing in young Nhem in the left channel. As he tries to beat his man he is tripped. Penalty. Up steps Sok Chanraksmey who buries it into the corner like only he can. Great to see the veteran get his name on the scoresheet for only the second time this season We are then pegged back instantly from the kick off. The centre of our defence is dozing off as Sella plays in Un Mony Udom to lash the ball past Kong Rafat. 1-1. Vishaka start to enjoy some possession in midfield and Sella’s probing balls on a couple of occasions needed some good interceptions to prevent further damage. Meanwhile we are dangerous on the break, but fail to create all that much. One each at the break.

We start the second half brightly and Chanraksmy has the ball in the net, but he is clearly offside, even Stevie Wonder could have seen that one. They have a gilt edged chance from a header but it is saved by Kong Rafat. I go to a 4-3-3 and throw on young Morgan Laurent, for only his second ever appearance and move Mat Dara into central midfield to add extra numbers there. Dara thwacks the crossbar from a lovely free kick. Nhem then hits a stunning effort from just outside the box which makes the crossbar vibrate once more.

 

At the other end Vishaka are knocking the ball around with too much confidence for my liking. The ball is worked to their right back, Krya who flights in a delicious ball which is diverted home by Phallin. 2-1 and a shock is on the cards, albeit against our ‘B’ Team. I ‘Demand More’, they respond. I disband the 4-4-3 and go to a diamond in midfield. Sub Suhana is making a difference on the right. From a throw in it is he who combines with In Sambath, who crosses the ball which is missed by the defender and lashed home by young Samnang Nhem for a deserved equaliser. We press for a winner with Suhana causing all sorts of problems down the right flank, in a way that Veasna used to. His cross is beaten away nervously by the keeper into the path of Laurent who fires in an instant shot, which trickles past the far post, How unlucky! Desmond it finished, again between these two sides. It hardly matters though because next up is the cup final! 

 

Final Score: EDC 2-2 Vishaka

 Chanraksmey 13 (pen)         Mony Udom 13

Nhem 85                                  Phallin 74

Phnom Penh Crown Win The C-League

Phnom Penh Crown become the 4th different winners of the C-League since I have been at EDC, showing that while some teams are better equipped to win than others, the title is wide open and that anyone can win if they show consistency and a winning mentality. Great to see different teams winning than one dominating all the time as can happen in smaller countries. Perhaps next year there will be yet another new name engraved on the trophy, EDC.. For now though we must concentrate on the cup! Congratulations to Phnom Penh Crown, The King of Cambodia will be very happy!

That's the remaining league fixtures out the way, bar one. Can EDC overcome their bitter rivals and lift the Hun Sen Cup, giving Rudd his first piece of silverware... Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

 

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Thanks for reading, Boycott and glad you are enjoying it. Yes just 13 draws in 4.5 seasons is quite an interesting stat (14 now with the draw against Vishaka)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Part 46 - The Hun Sen Cup Final Special!

 

Ok, I will leave you in suspense no longer...

 The Hun Sen Cup, or Prime Minister's Cup, as it is also known as, is the premier domestic cup competition in Cambodia. For the second time, Electricitié Du Cambodgé have somehow made it to another final and a showdown with bitter rivals, Nagaworld at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium. Back in 2021, during the 'Keegan season,' we lost 1-0 to Nagaworld in the Hun Sen Cup Final with rather a whimper. An early goal from their right back, Chatandara meant we were always chasing the game against superior opposition. Sok Chanraksmey then missed a sitter in the final minute of the game with only the keeper to beat, recounting memories (at least for me) of Gordon Smith for Brighton against Man United in the 1983 FA Cup Final. Unfortunately Sok has never quite been the same player since and while still a valued member of the squad, he has fallen down the pecking order as new and younger strikers have taken precedence. It was also rumoured, although never proven, that my star striker may have been a victim of a monk's curse at Angkor Wat.... (see Parts 21 & 22 for this bit of the story)

 In that season as you may recall we were also challenging for the title which also rather fell by the wayside. This year is different. We have no such distractions in the league, because we are destined to finish in 5th, a yawning twenty points behind champions, Phnom Penh Crown. I'd given up on winning the league ages ago, meaning that we could rest players in the run up to the final, so that I have a full squad to chose from, except for poor old Soun Bath who got injured on international duty for the Cambodian U19s. As good a prospects as he is, Bath would only have featured on the bench at best anyway.

The team pre-match meeting went really well, with all the squad 'turning green' and pumped up for the big game, as I played down the expectations on them.

The Road to The Olympic Stadium

It's amazing to think that our cup run started in rather unconvincing fashion against the obdurate students from Kampeuchea Mekong University. We'd battered their goal with about 50 shots but none of them went in. It took a couple of strikes from Tuy Oudom and the veteran, Chanraksmey to finally see them off in extra time. 

In the next round we faced the Second Division outfit, Paillin. Goals from Taboula, Touch Van and Soun Bath saw us progress with a comfortable 3-1 win. 

The first round proper meant a trip to Prek Pra, which saw two early goals from Mat Noron set us up for 2-1 win.

Next up, the quarter final against Boeung Ket, who had just whipped us 5-1 in the league. Our best performance in the Hun Sen Cup campaign saw us beat them 2-0, thanks once more to two first half strikes from Matty Noron.

So to the semi final and a long-awaited clash with Chllam Samuth. It's fair to say we were in trouble in this one and found ourselves a goal down at half time and nearly two down soon into the second half. Some tactical tweaks and shouts from the touchline enabled the players to rouse themselves in the latter part of the game. Once again Mat Noron was on hand to fire in an equaliser and then Sok Oeun Pidor to put us in the lead. Noron rounded off an unconvincing 3-1 win in the final minute when he poked the ball home to ensure EDC's second cup final in three seasons.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Match 31- The Hun Sen Cup Final: EDC v Nagaworld

The day has finally arrived... We get dressed in our cup final suits and board the team coach for the short drive across town to the Olympic Stadium. While I knew who my first 11/12 would be I was not 100% sure as to what formation to put them in. Nagaworld usually play with 3 in midfield. In our first league game against them I foolishly played a 4-3-3 and we got caned 6-1. In the return I played a 4-1-2-3 with Rattanak and Samnang providing a creative attacking pincer movement to occupy their deep lying midfielders and stop them from controlling the game. This seemed to work as we won 1-0 and managed to keep them quiet. The problem for me was that when we had played 4-1-2-3 we had left the lone striker, usually Noron isolated up front. There was also a chance that the casino could play with three at the back and two wing-backs which would have meant that our best striker could easily have been foiled by three defenders.

I looked down the team bus at my players. They were pumped up and focussed on the job in hand. In a moment I felt an enormous sense of pride in the lads, what I had achieved here in four and a half seasons. I just needed to add some silverware to have something to show for my achievements. Around the middle of the coach I could see my midfielders, Rattanak, Samnang, Sin Kakada just behind. That's the three in midfield. The problem I had was up front. Playing with one up front with two wingers meant I had to leave out either Noron or Taboula. Noron was the top scorer in the competition and it was his goals that had got us here, while Taboula had come into some great form in the league just at the right time. Neither of them deserved to be left out. I had to find a way to include them both, but without playing 4-4-2, which could see us overrun in midfield, or an unfamiliar 3-5-2 system ourselves, which my players would have been uncomfortable with. What to do?

We arrived at the ground and all got off the coach in the full glare of the BTV Cambodia cameras, broadcasting the match live across the country for Cambodian Match Of The Day. Everyone went inside the stadium for a pre-match meal, and then to the dressing rooms for a pre-match briefing. 

Therefore at this juncture it is time to put you in the hands of our good friends of Cambodian Match of the Day, Linka Garry, Shearer Allen (without the Geordie accent) and Richards Micah.

(Linka) "Good evening Cambodia, good evening and welcome to the 16th Hun Sen Cup Final, between Nagaworld and Electricitié du Cambodge, live from The Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium. It's the cup final, which can only mean one thing!"

(cue VT of cup action to a slowish soft rock track)

"Noron! It's a goal to EDC.."

Sun Dara...he scores again.. Nagaworld march on in the Hun Sen Cup.."

"64 teams, 5 rounds of cup action and now it is down to just two teams, Shearer Allen your thoughts.."

(Allen) "Well, you have to make Nagaworld the favourites, they have better players and a good manager. EDC though are very dangerous opponents and should not be underestimated. They also have a good manager, an Englishman, Jonathan Rudd so he knows a bit about football Linka."

(Linka) "Well huh huh we'll have to hope for EDC's sake that it doesn't go to penalties, The English are not good at penalties!"

(Allen)"Haha indeed"

(Linka) "Richard, your thoughts"

"Well ya know hahah I think this will be a closely fought game ya know, EDC want to win some silverware you know, they got so close two years ago and ya know they will be out for revenge you know."

"So, lets have a look at some of the players who could star in this Hun Sen Cup Final."

"Sun Dara has been talked about as "the future of Cambodian football," Just how good is he?"

"He's got power and an eye for goal and he will be a threat. See here, any ball in to feet, or on his head, Dara is all over it it. He isn't the quickest, but his positional play and aerial threat makes up for it. The EDC defence will have to be at their best to stop him."

(Linka)"Another is Math Fasal, who also played for EDC and made his name at The Electricity Stadium, before leaving under somewhat of a cloud at the end of the 2021 season."

(Allen) "Fasal is a cunning player who likes to cut inside on his right foot from the left flank and can provide good service for Sun Dara and Long Pheng as well running from midfield."

(Linka) "Long Pheng has a great record against EDC. He scored a hat trick in the league fixture earlier this season and his late runs into the box may be a cause for concern. He has a great eye for goal and can create as well. If he plays well, then Nagaworld will almost certainly win."

(Linka) "So what of this EDC side then, fifth in the league, not really threatening the title, yet find themselves here in a cup final, really with only the cup to play for, they are a good side, but perhaps one or two years away from really fulfilling their potential. Is that fair?"

(Allen) "Yes I think that's fair. A lot of their best players left the club at the end of last season, Veasna, Udom, Bairaing and Etim and you wondered whether they could sustain the progress they have made under Rudd's management with different players. After a few bad results early on, including a 6-1 defeat to today's opponents, Nagaworld they have steadily improved as the season has worn on."

(Linka) "Mat Noron is the top scorer in this competition and his goals have really carried EDC through to the final. What does he bring to this team, Richards?"

(Richards) "Well Matty Noron ya know, he's a huge favourite with EDC and its easy to see why. He is a complete striker, with an excellent goalscoring record. He can come short and link play and then also get on the end of crosses into the box. Strong, quick and also a good shot on him, he is a real threat."

(Allen) "They also have Maol Daravon and his performance will be key if EDC are to have any success here. He has experience, in fact he has made the most appearances in the C-League. He is strong, quick and has excellent positional play. Not the greatest in the air, but makes up for it in other ways. Daravon will be key if EDC are to win here."

(Linka) "Sok Oeun Pidor is an exciting talent who plays on the left or right and Min Rattanak is also a good young player in attacking midfield. This is a young team which has bags of talent, but will they have the knowhow to overcome a more experienced Nagaworld team?"

(LInka)"OK, we have some team news in and well this is the Nagaworld team.

Nagaworld Team: 4-2-3-1: Soksela, Sophana, Vichet, Panha, Darang, Touch Dara, Sokumpheak, Chamroeun, Long Pheng, Sun Dara, Fasal

                                                Sun Dara

Fasal                                          Pheng                                                  Chamroeun

 

                                   Touch Dara                         Sokumpheak

 

Sophana                       Vichet                        Panha                       Darang

                                               Soksela

 

EDC Team

 
EDC 4-1-2-1-1 Som, Teat Chandara, Gbayoro, Daravon, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Rattanak, Taboula, Noron, Pidor
 
 
 

 

                                                  Taboula                         Noron

Pidor

     

                                                   Samnang                             Rattanak

 

                                                                  Kakada

 

Teat Chandara                    Gbayoro                          Daravon                          Ratana

 

                                                                       Som            

Well this is a surprise! How would you describe this, Shearer? A 4-1-2-1-2 formation. Taboula and Noron start for EDC, with Pidor as a kind of wandering minstrel from the left, with support from Samnang and Rattanak. This is quite a surprise as we expected Suhana to start on the right!

(Allen) It's a brave move from Rudd, he's really going for it with an attacking line up. It'll be interesting to see how they get on..

(Linka) Well not long until kick off now as the teams are due to come out for the Hun Sen Cup Final very soon, kick off just minutes away...

Meanwhile in the Dressing Room:

The teamsheets have been sent out. Suhana is naturally disappointed at not starting. Pidor, you have license to wander all over, don't just stick to the left wing. Rattaanak, I need you to run out wide, balance the team up on the right hand side. Noron. work those channels, chase everything down and you Pelap, bully their defence and get in behind off the last defender. Ratana, Teat, I need you to stay back at all times, mark the wingers, especially. Fasal we know how he can play. Daravon, stay with Sun Dara, Anderson you cover everything as the last man, Sim Kakada mark Long Pheng out the game, get thoise tackles in, win the ball, keep him quiet, if he doesn't play, Nagaworld don't play.. Ok Lads, you've done brilliantly to get this far, go out there, express yourselves and bring home the trophy.. Good look Lads!

"EDC! EDC! EDC!, the players chant, raring to go! 

I pump my fists and shout "COME ON!"

Fans start to fill the Olympic Stadium, with chants of "Jonny Rudd's Electric Army," Flags are waved, flares are let off and paper is strewn on the pitch. The players assemble in the tunnel, ready to walk out into the now packed Olympic stadium. Nerves, tension laughter, excitement, adrenalin pumping through their bodies, my team are ready for battle. I can do no more but watch, shout instructions and hope.....

The players walk out the tunnel to fireworks and music. The Cambodian National anthem is played. The King and Prime Minister, Hun Sen, of whom the cup is named after, stand proudly in the V.I.P box above the side of the pitch on the halfway line. The Cambodian flag is raised, alongside those of Nagaworld and EDC. The players assemble in their half of the field, with Nagaworld in their 4-2-3-1 and us in our lop-sided 4-1-2-1-2/4-3-3/what the hell is going on here hopefully.... 

Time to hand over to our commentator, Motson John.

(John) "Well, the 16th Hun Sen Cup Final is about to start, with a fascinating contest in prospect. With me is Lawrenson Mark. It's the casino versus the energy company.. I don't know which one takes most of your money at the moment Mark!"

(Mark) Afternoon Motson, A great occasion for all football fans in Cambodia, here at a packed out Olympic Stadium here in Phnom Penh. The sun is shining and perfect conditions for football, a great game in prospect here!"

(John) "So, in 11 meetings between these two sides in all competitions since 2020, Nagaworld have won six, EDC, three and with two draws. EDC are in the blue and will kick from left to right, Nagaworld are in the all red shirts."

"So, Electricitié du Cambodge will kick off. As Noron plays the ball back to Gbayoro, to the experienced Maol Daravon, into young Rattanak, one to look out for in midfield and well, EDC knocking the ball around confidently here Mark."

(Mark) "Yes it's important that all the players get an early touch of the ball to help settle the nerves."

"Yes indeed, well, they've kept the ball quite well from the kick off and are on the attack now with Chea Samnang who strides forward purposefully into the Nagaworld half. He finds Pelap Taboula, the Nigerian and Pidor on the overlap, this looks promising. He checks in and finds Chea Samnang on the edge of the area! 

He let's fly!!

Awwwwwwww what a goal straight into the corner! Chea Samnang for EDC! What a start. A dream start for EDC, and this cup final has sparked into life after just 24 seconds!

 

What a start to this cup final John! Chea Samnang has hit a thunderbolt into the Nagworld net! Quite brilliant form the midfielder..! Retribution for his sending off in the first league fixture between these two,. Unbelievable!

"Shell shocked Nagaworld kick off, they haven't even touched the ball yet and find themselves a goal down Mark!"

(Mark)"Well, they are stunned, and we have a game on now. That goal came in just 24 seconds, a new cup final record."

(John) Here come EDC again.. Teat Chandara the left back.. who finds Tabooulllaaaa!!! Just wide. Well, it was a whsker away from being 2 there Lawrenson! 

(Mark) "Well Nagaworld are all over the place. Pidor is wandering about and they just can't pick him up. It's leaving all sorts of space down the EDC left flank which they are exploiting."

(John) "Meanwhile down the other end, Nagaworld muster an attack which results in a free kick. It'll be Touch Dara to take it.. Just wide..

"EDC are on the attack again. Min Rattanak, skips past one and slides in Matty Noron! OHh saved by the keeper. That could well have been two Mark"

(Mark) They are like a pack of wolves in midfield, Kakada, Samnang, so sharp in the tackle and then they are breaking forward in numbers. Kakada breaking up the play and feeding Rattanak who runs at the defence almost Gascoigne-like committing defenders and creating space for Noron and Taboula ahead of him. Nagaworld are struggling to get a foothold in the game."

(John) "They have a free kick though, Long Pheng who has had a quiet opening quarter of an hour brought down by Teat Chandara. It'll be a Heng Chamroeurn to take it. 

He swings it in straight onto the head of TOUCH DARA!
 
It's there!! Out of nothing, Touch Dara nods in an equaliser with a superb header!
 
 "One each here at the Olympic Stadium, It's Touch Dara with the goal for Nagaworld."

(Mark) "It's a brilliantly worked free-kick, but poor defending you have to say from EDC, they've switched off and Dara has the simple task of guiding the ball past Som."
 
(John) "So, EDC to restart after a dream start, find themselves pegged back by Nagaworld. 

"Noron to Kakada, Daravon.. He strides forward and plays a long ball looking for Taboula, but headed away by Panha.. only into the path of Pidor on the left wing. Pidor now on the left for EDC, he's full of running trying to knock the ball round Dairaing, but the defender dispossess him and clears. Only as far as Daravon though, Daravon into the Nagaworld half..
 
He chips a delightful ball into the path of PIDOR!!!
 
It's Sok Oeun Pidor for EDC, The flag stays down...
 
SOK OUEN PIDOR! He volleys it past Soksela and restores EDC's lead! What a reply from EDC quite brilliant! From the restart! Maol Daravon their central defender turning creator with a brilliant chipped ball which deceived everybody, except for Pidor who timed his run to perfection! Amazing! Three goals inside sixteen minutes, It's raining goals here at The Olympic Stadium!

(Mark) "Amazing scenes here as Nagaworld kick off again. They don't know what's hit them! It's great play from Daravon. They just let him waltz into their half with all the time in the world to pick out Pidor who runs into the box unmarked and unchallenged. They are just not picking up his runs and it's causing all kinds of problems for Nagaworld."

(John) "Huh huh! Well here he is again, Pidor... He finds Taboula this time.. whose shot is saved by the keeper. It could have been three!" They are all over Nagaworld here!

(Mark) "This just sums it up for me, Pidor and Taboula have been given too much time and space and together with Noron are wreaking havoc in the Nagaworld defence, especially down the left hand side, that's where they are getting a lot of joy. They look like scoring every time they cross the halfway line."

(John) "Here come Nagaworld though on the attack. Touch Dara, skips past Ratana down the left wing. He crosses for Long Pheng! Tipped over the bar by Som. Nagaworld are not out of this. 

"Corner to EDC, The ball is cleared to Daravon on the corner of the penalty area. He flights in a lovely cross to PIDOR. Straight into the keeper's hands. Could have done better. Peep Peep Peep! That's the end of a pulsating first half, in which EDC have been quite brilliant and lead at the break by two goals to one! 

"EDC have been much the better team Motson and deserve to be ahead at half-time. Can they see it through to the end? Back to the studio."

(Linka) Thanks Motson & Lawrenson, well much to discuss here, but how good have EDC been!"

(Micah) They've been superb Linka, their attacking play has been sensational and Nagaworld have been unable to cope with the pace and power of Pidor, Taboula, Rattanak, Samnang and Noron. They've been simply amazing and their secret creative force, Maol Daravon as well. It's been great to watch them."

(Allen) I'm not sure how it's only 2-1 it could quite easily have been more." The passing, the running with and without the ball has been a joy to watch. Here from the kick off just look how well they keep the ball. Nagaworld can't get near them. It's super football.

Meanwhile in the EDC dressing room..

I am in two minds here of what to tell the lads in the half time team talk. If I tell them they've been brilliant then will they get complacent in the second half, but then I can hardly say they have been awful when they really haven't and that would make them angry and lose motivation. I need to choose my words carefully.

The lads are as pleased as punch, hi-fiving eachother like they have won the game. I need to get them to remain focussed and remind them the job is not yet done. I begin..

"Ok lads, listen.. We've been great so far and you've done everything I've asked you to. But... The job is only half done. Nagaworld will be much better in the second half, so we have to keep this level of performance up, OK." 

Pidor, keep making them runs forward you are confusing the life out of them. Daravon.. brilliant, keep marking Sun Dara. Sim, keep on Long Phen you doing well, keep it going..

Samanang, great goal, well done son, keep running up and down in midfield. 

Come on give me 45 more lads and the trophy is yours! COME ON!!!

Back in the commentary box

(Motson John) Huh hun well were back here for the second half and a few stats for you, EDC have had 5 shots on goal to Nagaworld's one, which was their goal. Nagaworld on the other hand have enjoyed 53% possession to EDC's 47%

(Lawrenson Mark) EDC have used the ball better though and used it far more effectively."

(Motson John) So, the two teams are out for the second half and Nagaworld to kick off. Surely they cannot be as bad as they were in the first half..

"So, it'll be a free kick to Nagaworld at the edge of the box. Danger for EDC. It'll be Sun Dara.. clawed away by Som and out for a corner. 

(Mark) "That was going in Motty, Nagaworld are looking up for it in this second half."

(John) "Darang, up from right back, skips past Chandara and crosses in. Cleared by Gbayoro. Another ball in cleared only as far as Touch Dara who works it left to Rous Sophana who crosses in for Chamroeurn!! Tipped over by Som. A chance for Nagaworld."

(Mark) "That's a lot better from Nagaworld. Stretching the EDC defence by working it from side to side and it's a good save from the keeper."

(John) "It's the 69th minute. Nagaworld come forward again with Darang, who is getting further forward in this second half. He finds Sun Dara who crosses onto the head of Heng Chameroun, he must score, but denied by Som who claws it over the bar. What a save, at point blank range! 

(Mark) "That should be 2-2 Motson. Unbelievable save. Any top goalkeeper in the world would have been proud of that one.."

(John) "Sokundara Som has kept EDC's lead. Nagaworld have been a different team this second half, can EDC hang on?"

(Mark) "They have been far better, dominating possession and getting the ball in wide areas. EDC have not turned up in this half, but they still lead by two goals to one..

(John) "Corner to Nagaworld.. Cleared by EDC and Chea Samnang is leading the breakaway, over the halfway line. He finds Mat Noron.. and the sub, Oudom is overlapping down the right into the penalty area.. Aww his cross is cut out, just in the nick of time as Noron was ready to pounce."
 

"Just eight minutes to go. EDC trying to retain the ball. It's important they keep the ball here. In Sambath..oh it's intercepted by Touch Dara, who finds his namesake, Sun Dara. He heads it left to Heng Chameroun. His cross is cut out, shot charged down Touch Dara! Blocked by Daravon cleared by EDC, anywhere will do now for EDC!

"The ball is back with Soksela the goalkeeper, who rolls it to Panha. Time running out now for Nagaworld. He plays a long ball which is flicked on by Sun Dara to Heng Chamroeurn whose through on goal, into the area.. WIDE! 

(Mark) "What a chance. What a chance. It's not their day, it's EDC's day.. He should have scored.. Unbelievable miss!"

(John)"Just three minutes to go including stoppage time stands between EDC and a famous victory., Soksela launches the ball forward.. Flicked on and Chamroeurn again...Blazes it over the bar.." Cries from the Nagaworld fans echo around the Olympic Stadium. They feel it is not their day."

(Mark)"It's still in orbit Motson. Terrible finishing. Another chance goes a-begging. EDC riding their luck here."

(John) Som kicks the ball out, but it goes straight to the Nagaworld player. EDC can't get a hold of the ball. They can't stop the wave after wave of Nagaworld attacks. Panha launches it forward once more for Nagaworld. Long Pheng flicks it on to Sun Dara.. Straight at Som.. Was that another Gordon Smith moment. He should have scored again.. Unbelievable., Som stood tall and strong in front of young Dara. What a performance this has been from the EDC goalkeeper in this second half. 

"EDC have the ball, some welcome possession to try and take the sting out of things. Teat Chandara to the ever impressive Chea Samnang, to Tuy Oudom and Noron who chips the ball forward and gives the ball away..

Sun Dara can break, left to Touch Dara

He flights a lovely ball to Long Pheng, whose broken the offside trap....

Long Pheng for Nagawolrd, last chance surely!


Ooh it's there. Long Pheng for Nagaworld in the last minute to break EDC hearts.....

 

Unbelievable.. but you have to say.. it's been coming Mark. It's Nagaworld 2 EDC 2 in the last minute of the game. Were going to extra time..!!

"Mat Noron is devastated it was he who gave the ball away when he should have kept the ball better. His ambitious ball was cut out and then the break was on and EDC were in trouble."

Final Whistle. Extra Time.

I run onto the pitch, my players are knackered, they have given it their all, but it'a not lost yet.

"We've won it once, let's go out and win it again."  (I really need Mat Noron to turn into Geoff Hurst right now)

Back to the commentary box:

(John) "So, EDC to start extra time here at The Olympic Stadium. They need to start playing again after a poor second half, apart from their keeper."

"EDC attack, they seem rejuvenated in extra time. The ball is worked to the substitute, Tuy Oudom! Shot straight at the keeper, but it's a start and the first serious attack they have had in quite a while."

The ball is played long be Nagaworld, flicked on again to Sun Dara! Saved once again by Som, who is having the game of his life here!"

(Mark) Both sides look tired out there and it looks like they are settling for penalties.. 

(John) Corner to EDC, cleared by Nagaworld.. 

(John) "That's it, it will be a penalty competition...

Penalties

(John) First up for EDC will be Mat Noron...... Fires it low and hard into the left corner. Fine penalty.

Touch Dara for Nagaworld.. left footed.. SAVED by SOM it was straight at him, he barely had to move, a Panenka gone wrong, how embarrassing for the lad!"

Chea Samnang, who lit up this final with a gaol after just 24 seconds.. Samnang.. Scores..only just though. Down the middle but hit with power.. 

Sun Dara for Nagaworld.....  Fired into the right corner, Som no chance

Maol Daravon.. an experienced head in these circumstances.. Can he score? Yes he can! Straight into the corner, the keeper didn't move!

Kouch Sokumspheak for Nagaworld.. he must score!.. He does with a low shot into the bottom corner..

Sok Ouen Pidor for EDC... who put EDC 2-1 ahead with a super cushioned volley.. Straight into the corner, no problem for the youngster.

Chea Vichet for Nagaworld... Places it into the corner.

If EDC score this penalty, they will win the Hun Sen Cup, this enthralling final has come down to the last kick. And what a story this could be.. Teat Chandara, the 33 year old left back, who was released by Nagaworld back in 2016 and then was without a club for seven years before EDC picked him up on a free transfer. What a fairytale this could be.. It;ll be Chandara left footed...HE FINDS THE CORNER OF THE NET.. EDC ARE THE HUN SEN CUP CHAMPIONS 2023! 

Meanwhile in the dugout..

As soon as the ball nestled into the back of the net, bedlam! It is all just a blur, but the jubilation, relief, joy, ecstasy. The EDC fans invade the pitch and a sea of dark blue EDC shirts, scarves (not that these are needed much in Cambodia) and other merchandise. Our goalkeeper, Som is chaired round the pitch by the supporters and Teat Chandara, who scored the winning penalty is also raised high onto the shoulders of the supporters. What a great moment for him, without a club for five years, having to work different jobs to make ends meet and at 33 years old must have thought his footballing dreams were over., until my scout turned up and recommended him to me at a time when we needed more depth in the left back position...

Nen Borey is excited and we embrace in pure joy. Our first trophy together, It felt a million miles away from that conversation in the café at the beginning of the season when I was considering my future at EDC after the exodus of our best players during the transfer window. He persuaded me to stay and I am so glad he changed my mind. 

I punch the air in triumph, as the BTV Cambodia cameras are turned on me. Yes we had ridden our luck and on another day Nagaworld could have beaten us by 4 or 5 goals to 2, but for the brilliance of our keeper. Then, after the heartbreak of a last minute equaliser we rallied to shade extra time, before holding our nerve in the penalty shoot-out. As an Englishman it is rare to celebrate victory in a penalty competition, we usually dread them, but when you win one it is a fantastic feeling!

Eventually as the ecstasy dies down, the call goes out for the teams to walk onto the pop up stage in the centre circle to receive the trophy from its namesake, Prime Minister Hun Sen himself. Now, while I am slightly suspicious of any leader who has been in power since I'd just come out of nappies, none of this mattered right now. He seemed genuinely delighted to be there as we made our way. Captain, Maol Daravon lead the team and received the cup from the Cambodian Prime Minister and lifts the first ever trophy in EDC's short history!

The fireworks went off around us and the glitter poured down on us. After a good half an hour it was time for us to go back to the dressing room, say a few words and get changed, It was going to be quite a night, where even some of the strictest Buddhists among the group may ask the Almighty for forgiveness just for one glorious night. It was going to be quite a celebration!

What a turnaround.. EDC manage to win their first trophy under Rudd's leadership, next stop.. the C-League title? Find out in the next chapter of The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

 

 

 
Edited by Jon1982
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OMG, that was incredible! I could just feel the tension and drama all throughout that. Well done mate! :thup:

Do you now play in the AFC Cup next season? That would be a fun adventure if so. :D

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Posted (edited)

Hi Ben,

Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it. Good question about the AFC cup. Not sure yet, as I have not reached the start of the next season on the game, but will certainly be fun if I do. I will get to compete for The Kings Cup against the League Champions Phnom Penh Crown at the start of the season. 

2 hours ago, BenArsenal said:

OMG, that was incredible! I could just feel the tension and drama all throughout that. Well done mate! :thup:

Do you now play in the AFC Cup next season? That would be a fun adventure if so. :D

Thanks 

Edited by Jon1982
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Congratulations on lifting EDC’s first ever trophy. Hopefully this is just a springboard for more silverware, and that elusive first ‘C’ League Title

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Part 47 - The Mystery Man

 

It was a few days after our Hun Sen Cup victory and I was sat in my office pouring over some stats from the match. It was indeed quite a game which well and truly put EDC into the public consciousness. It has also propelled me into the Cambodian Hall of Fame as one of the best managers in the country, which was nice!

 No longer were we considered makeweights, but a force to be reckoned with and to be taken seriously by the professional clubs. We had won the cup, but next season I wanted the league, provided we could keep hold of our best players in the Christmas transfer window. If we could come through this unscathed, plus bring in one or two new faces, then we would have a chance. My first transfer though would come a bit sooner than expected....

There was a sudden knock at the door and outside stood Nen Borey and my head of youth development, Chan Vannak, who was jigging about like a cat on a hot tin roof..

"Morning Gentle..."

"Boss, you have to come and see this," enthused my head of youth development, "This is amazing!!..."

"Woah... slow down, Nen what's going on?"

"Looks like we've acquired a new player, Jonathan. "

"New player? but I haven't clicked on the Player Search menu for ages...and the transfer window doesn't open for another month..?"

"He says he knows Mo Salah boss," 

"He knows Mo Salah?" Does he play as good as him?"

"He has a few tricks boss." replied my Assistant Manager.

"He's gonna be the Cambodian Mo Salah boss. maybe even the Cambodian Pélé!!" informed Vannak enthusiastically.

"OK, so what's the"Cambodian Pélé, who also knows Mo Salah "allegedly" doing at our training ground on a humid late October morning, thousands of miles away from Egypt and Brazil in Cambodia?"

"Come and see for yourself, Jonathan."

I trudged out onto the training ground to see an 18 year old lad of seemingly African origin playing keepy-uppy, balancing the ball on his head, doing backflips and various other skills. Stood around him watching in awe were members of our youth team and some first-teamers who had wandered across the training field to see what all the fuss was about.

As soon as the lad saw me he stopped what he was doing and knelt at my feet.

"Hello, Mr Rudd, Mr Rudd, my name is Ahmed Abdi.. I come from Somalia.. I want to come and play for you at EDC!"

Abdi was wearing what looked to be an Egyptian national shirt and pale blue shorts. On the back of the short was adorned with the name, "Salah" and a number 11.

"I beg of you please! Mr Rudd I can score lots of goals for you!"

"Please give him a chance," piped up Vannak.

I pondered for a minute or two. What to do. If I say no and he goes off to Nagaworld and turns out to be brilliant and is a constant thorn in our sides then it is something I may regret and yet if I let him stay and he turns out to be George Weah's dodgy cousin, rather than Mo Salah's protégé, then this may turn me and the club into a laughing stock. Fair play to the lad, he could do 100 keepy uppys.. but..

"Hmm, there is a saying we have back home in England... It's OK doing 100 keepy uppys and looking cool in front of your mates, but can you do it at Stoke on a cold Tuesday night in February?"

This comment seemed to cause much confusion in the ranks...

"Where is Stoke?" enquired Abdi.

"Boss, we don't get any cold days in Cambodia," piped up Chan Vannak.

"OK never mind, that's missing the point... Look OK, let's have a match, 11 v 11 and let's see what you can do, but before we do that, how did you get here? You know you can't just break into my training ground and start playing football with my players randomly, this isn't a park.."

"Mr Rudd, I am sorry about this very, rude entry to your training ground and I know this is most...errm inappropriate, but I need to play football sir..and I want to come and play for you Mr Rudd," begged Ahmed.

I pride myself on being a good judge of character, its something I inherited from my mother and my gut instinct told me that he was genuine. 

"Sir, I have travelled hundreds of miles in a boat with my family to flee my country. I travel long days without food and little water to come to Cambodia. I have five brothers and sisters I need to play football and earn money for them. Sir I watched your team win the Hun Sen Cup against Nagaworld on a TV in a shop in Phnom Penh. I knew this was the team I wanted to play for. Please give me a chance sir."

I nodded slowly. OK let's have a trial game, but before we do that, I want to ask you something."

"What sir?"

"How do you know Mo Salah?"

"Well Sir I play for my country against Egypt in World Cup Qualifier.."

"Your an international footballer?"

"Yes! I have 8 caps for my country, Somalia!"

I know Somalia are hardly a world football power and are probably on a par with Cambodia in that respect, but he has played in a World Cup Qualifier all the same, which puts him on a par with some of our first team players like Ratana, Suhana and Chanraksmey.

"We played Egypt and at the end of the game, I swapped shirts with the great Mo Salah," proudly pointing to the shirt he was wearing.

"He told me I had played well,! he beamed proudly.

"Did you win?"

"No boss, Somalia lost 5-0, Salah scored a hat-trick."

Cue a few titters from some members of the U21s team..

"OK come 1st team vs U21s get yourself organised into teams. Abdi, you will play in the U21s team.

I pulled my senior defender, Maol Daravon over. to one side.

"Maol. You mark him and go in hard (but not too hard) let's see what this kid is made of.."

"Yes boss". 

The game started. The U21s knew their role to get the ball to Abdi as soon as they could.. Bloody hell! He took it round Daravon like he wasn't there, who slid into thin air and slotted it past Som in goal, all in one silky movement..

He bowed in celebration and looked towards me grinning and with his thumbs up..

Nen Borey turned to me.

"Bloody hell boss."

"See I told you!" piped up a triumphant Chan Vannak.

I puffed my cheeks out. Wow we really could have a player here...

After the game, of which Abdi scored a hat trick in a 6-3 win for the first team in an unofficial intra squad kickabout, we agreed to meet after the game to thrash out a deal. 

After explaining to him that despite our cup success, we were still only a part time club, who could only offer him an appearance fee, he accepted on the promise that he would be getting enough minutes to feed his family. Abdi would get £100 appearance fee, with a £40 goal bonis and £30 unused sub fee,

"Once you cross that white line Ahmed, you get your money, £100.."

I also had another idea. We had one remaining league fixture left, a completely pointless dead rubber against Wat Phnom at home. I was eager to give Abdi a game and another promising young player, Chhim Pheara, the so-called Cambodian wonderkid his debut too. What did we have to lose? My new signing beamed at the prospect of making his debut for EDC, a team just days earlier he had watched win the Hun Sen Cup stood barefoot on a street outside an electrical store in downtown Phnom Penh on the televisions they had on display in the window dreaming of this moment... His appearance fee would also earn him £100, enough to help him and his family start their new lives in their adopted country.

Match 32 – EDC v Wat Phnom 04/11/23

Our last and ultimately pointess last league fixture of the season. I am using this as an opportunity to look at one or two players on the fringes and some promising youngsters too. I play a 4-4-2 with eleven changes from the Hun Sen Cup winning team. Wat Phnom lie in 7th position and have punched above their weight this term, proving somewhat to be a bogey team. Abdi and young Pheara make their debuts. Makara Um gets another chance at left back.

Team: Kong Rafat, In Sambath, Sokha, Makara, Makara Um, Vannak, Pheara, Touch Van, Nhem, Abdi, Dara

Match Action

We control the opening stages and knock the ball around with confidence. Young Pheara runs at their defence and lays it off to Touch Van who has made a super over-lapping run on the right edge of the box. He shoots he scores! The ball fizzes into the corner of the net. What a finish from the young winger! 1-0 to the Hun Sen Cup Champions!

Another move involving Pheara and Touch Van ends up with the latter overhitting the cross to Dara who crosses in but Nhem fires well over. EDC have a corner now which Is cleared only as far as Abdi. What’s he doing back there? The Somalian newcomer strides forward with the ball and smashes it straight into the top corner! Gooooaalll! What a strike from the debutant! The stadium goes ballistic and there is genuine excitement about what this young man can do.

“We’ve got a player here Jonathan,” remarked Nen Borey excitedly in the dugout.

Just before half time we get a penalty for pushing on Run Sokha. Up steps captain for the day, In Sambath who fires it straight into the corner. 3-0!

Just after half time we score again. This time sub Sos Suhana fires a pinpoint cross for Abdi to tap home at the far post. What a signing he is turning out to be. 4-0! Nhem whacked the post late on and Sok Chanraksmey was given a standing ovation from EDC fans when he was introduced in the 71st minute in what could be possibly his last appearance in an EDC shirt. A great way to finish a surprisingly successful season. Well done boys!

Final Score: EDC 4-0 Wat Phnom

 Touch Van 9

Abdi 38,53

 

In Sambath 46 (pen)

Final League Table

Phnom Penh Crown 64 (c)

Nagaworld 58

Khemera 51

Boeung Ket 50

EDC 44

Angkor Tiger 38

Wat Phnom 34

Chmao Khmao 32

Prek Pra 29

Chllam Samuth 28

National Police 27

----------------------------------------------------------

Mondul Kiri 23 (R)

Solitio Angkor 19 (R)

Vishaka 13 (R)

So we finish in 5th place with 44 points and a whole 20 points behind Chmpions, Phnom Penh Crown. This season was always going to be one of transition, so I am not really surprised. After some bad early season results we got stronger as the season went on, culminating in winning the Hun Sen Cup. Providing we can keep this squad together in the transfer window, we should start the 2024 season with great optimism. The Police live to fight another day after being in the bottom three for most of the season, while Mondul Kiri, Solitio Angkor and Vishaka fall through the trapdoor into the Second Division. No more trips to elephant sanctuaries for us next year, unless we draw them in the cup..

Board Sets Initial Budgets

In light of my cup win the board have given me £3.2K wage budget and a whopping £7.96K to spend in the transfer market. In Cambodia though this goes a long way.

End of Season Review

 

A – The board are delighted we won the Hun Sen Cup

Top Scorer in the cup – Mat Noron  6 goals

General Stats

Biggest win – 4-0 v Wat Phnom

Goal of the Season Abdi vs Wat Phnom

 

Shirt Sales – 89

End of Season Awards

Fans Player of the Season – Anderson Gbayoro

Young Player of the Season – Pelap Taboula

Signing of the season – Sokundara Som (GK)

Goal Of The Season – Ahmed Abdi vs Wat Phnom

Top Goalscorer – Mat Noron 16 goals

Most Assists – Tuy Oudom 8 assists

Most Man of The Match awards – Mat Noron 4

Highest Average Rating – Anderson Gbayoro 7.20

As the sun sets on yet another Cambodian season, our friends electric can look forward to the following season with relish. Can they hold onto their best players, now once again on the radar of the professional clubs and can Rudd finally build a squad who can compete for the coveted C-League title in 2024? Also... will Ahmed Abdi become the next Pélé? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Save!

 

 

 

 

 
Edited by Jon1982
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On 25/05/2022 at 00:45, neilhoskins77 said:

Congratulations on lifting EDC’s first ever trophy. Hopefully this is just a springboard for more silverware, and that elusive first ‘C’ League Title

Thanks, it is just the beginning for this team I believe,,

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On 09/06/2022 at 18:15, BenArsenal said:

Bloomin' heck. Hope this Somalian Salah brings you to greater heights. :thup:

 

We will start the new season in fine form.. Watch this space! 

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Part 48 - Start of Season 5

 

End of Season Thoughts

Going into this season we had just lost five of our best players, Keo Udom, Suon Veasna and Seut Bairaing, Ouch Oudom and Raymond Etim to our rival teams. I did not hold out much hope of us doing anything other than battle relegation and maybe scrape together a decent cup run if the draw was kind to us. Now we are cup winners and while we never challenged for the title we sat comfortably in mid-table, before a good run of results at the end propelled us to 5th, which was exactly where we finished last season, albeit much further away from the top. As the season has gone on we have grown in confidence and bounced back from heavy defeats to Boeung Ket and Nagaworld, before beating both teams on our successful Hun Sen Cup campaign. I am delighted to have lifted my first trophy on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game and full credit has to go to my players for their performances and my backroom staff for all their hard work. Next season I think we can challenge for the title, or at least finish much nearer to the winners than last season. I am pleased with the squad, although as ever we still need a decent right back!  Maol Daravon and Gbayoro have been outstanding in the heart of the defence, while Rattanak, Samnang and Pidor have offered creativity and a goalscoring threat from midfield. It was a season of two halves for our strikers. In the first half, Mat Noron came to the fore, while in the second, Pelap Taboula became our main goalscorer.

My goals for next season (excuse the pun) are to challenge the top teams for the title. We also have some exciting signings in the pipeline, plus the emergence of some younger players to really try and make this happen. Onwards and upwards!

The Transfer Window

It's that time of year again. It's getting boring now. As soon as the window opens, Nagaworld will try and sign Ratana, some crappy second division club will try and sign Rattanak and think they seriously have a chance. I will do the old trick of raising the player's contracts by £5 each time  club comes in for them and hope they re-sign their contracts. As a semi-pro club that is about all I can do. The only unpredictable bit is whether they stay or not. Of course, our Hun Sen Cup win has put EDC and its players on the Cambodian footballing map. It is now just a question of loyalty from my players and whether they want to help this club achieve further success. 

Released Players

Chin Chainuth – This unfortunate goalkeeper, who spent much of last season on the treatment table after damaging his cruciates has been released. He was surplus to requirements after the signing of Som, coupled with an able back up keeper in Kong Rafat. I wish him well.

Chea Sam- This defender has been with us a while, but has not really progressed, so I’ve released him to continue his career somewhere else.

Hem Sokha – This right back failed to impress during his short time at the club and so is released.

Sary Theara – This attacking midfielder had some promise, but failed to progress significantly,

Sary Chainuth – This 18 year old striker dis quite well in the U21 and reserves, but he failed to progress and other, more determined forwards have overtaken him.

Sok Mak – A young defender who failed to improve. Off he goes.

Molly Unmoll – For a while it looked like this left winger could have made it after making four appearances for the club, but the performances of Mat Dara, Pidor and Suhana soon saw him fall down the pecking order.

Sam Sambo – An emergency back up keeper who is surplus to requirements.

Transfer Window – Players In

Aderito Graca (MR) £1K from Mindelese (CPV)

This is an exciting signing for EDC as the young Cape Verdean joins from his home country. He is also the club’s first £1,000 player. He will join us in May 2024 at the end of the Cape Verde domestic season.

Sok Panha (DC) Free Transfer

I’d almost forgotten this guy was joining us in pre season, but to look at his stats I think he is one for the future.

Chhom Pisa on loan from Nagaworld

 

Sometimes you have to do a deal with the devil and this has resulted in a loan deal for right back, Chhom Pisa, who can also play in midfield.

Cheng Ravy free transfer from CMAC Utd

 

CMAC is a bit of gold mine for talent and this guy emerged as the leading contender to replace Kong Rafat as understudy goalkeeper to Som. He only wants to be a breakthrough prospect and that’s good enough for me!

Players Out – Kong Rafat to Solitio Angkor

I’m slightly disappointed by Kong Rafat’s decision to leave EDC, as he is one of the originals. For a time he was my first choice keeper and won acclaim by winning Young Cambodian Keeper of the year and International recognition. A dodgy start to last season and the signing of Sokundara Som as first choice has meant my promising young stopper has sat mainly on the bench and feels he needs first team football to further his career. He’ll do well in the Second Division.

Teat Chandara to CMAC Utd

His heroic winning penalty in the Hun Sen Cup final proved to be his final act in an EDC shirt. To be honest he's done his job and at 34 is not getting any younger, so off he goes to CMAC and the 2nd Division. I did not stand in his way because I knew first team opportunities may be more limited this term. 

Financial Performance

I don’t often comment on the financial state of the club, but you (and my chairman) will be delighted to know that we made a £10,000 profit this month and are operating in the black with a Financial Status of OK. Could this be a rung on the ladder towards professionalism?

Board Confidence

Despite the Bs and Cs, the board a very pleased with my performance as manager and delighted with the possession based attacking style of the team, although they still think we concede too many goals. They are unhappy with the signing of Sim Kakada and think Ouk Ratana should be rested due to his poor performances all season. They are delighted with the signing of Abdi, who they believe could become a key player. They are delighted with the overall support from the players.

Sok Chanraksmey Becomes a Player/Scout

Legendary veteran striker, Sok Chanraksmey has committed his future to the club by becoming a Player/Scout, While he will still be available for selection, he will also be helping out on the recruitment team and maintaining his links to the club.

New Goalkeeping Coach

 

As my old goalkeeping coach did not want to renew his contract for some strange reason, I’ve swooped to bring in Leng Tola, who moves to the big smoke of Phnom Penh from Mondul Kiri.

New Reserves Manager

Japanese coach, Masahiro Fukazawa joins EDC as our new manager of the Reserves. Welcome to Cambodia Mr Fukazawa!

EDC Gain in National Reputation

 

After winning the Hun Sen Cup, EDC have risen slightly in national reputation to 8th place, just behind relegated Vishaka. Boeung Ket and Nagaworld still lead the way.

Board Expectations

The board expectations are pretty much the same as last year, finish in the top half of the league, and reach the Quarter Finals in the Hun Sen Cup. The only difference in the Kings Cup, which is a kind of Cambodian Community Shield played between the league champions and cup winners. The board do not regard this as very important, but don’t tell his royal highness!

Registered Players

Below are the 35 registered players to challenge for the C-League this year.

Goalkeepers

Sokundara Som

Cheng Ravy

Kouch Rithy

Sob Vattanak

Defenders

Soeung Rithy (DR)

Anderson Gbayoro (DC) (Fgn)

Khek Khemarin (DC)

Maol Daravon (DC)

Sok Panha (DC)

Ouk Ratana (DRLC)

In Sambath (DRLC)

Run Sokha (DLC)

Chhom Pisa (DR/WBR) (On loan from Nagaworld)

Makara Um (DL/WBL)

Midfielders

Pom Vannak (DC/DMC)

Um Makara (DC/DMC)

Enrico Capriati (DMC/MC)

Sin Kakada (DMC/MC)

Chea Samnang (MC)

Vavanak (DC/DMC)

Min Rattanak (MC)

Mol Ly (MR/L)

Touch Van (MR)

Tuy Oudom (MR/AMR)

Sok Oeun Pidor (MLC/AMLRC)

Morgan Laurent (AMC/ST)

Mat Dara (MRLC)

Sos Suhana (MRL)

Chhim Pheara (AMRC/ST)

Forwards

Samnang Nhem (AMR/ST)

Soun Bath (AML/ST)

Ahmed Abdi (ST) (Fgn)

Mat Noron (ST)

Pelap Taboula (ST) (Fgn)

Sok Chanraksmey (ST)

Friendly 1 EDC 4 - 3 EDC Reserves 10/02/24

The traditional kickabout between the first team and reserves was a closely fought affair, largely, because of the amount of promising youngsters vying for a place in the first team squad. The Reserves looked up for it and want to impress. Young Capriati broke forward to feed Nhem, who squared it for Soun Bath to slot home the opening goal. These two look as though they could form a promising partnership...

Then a ball over top from the youngsters leads to chaos in the experienced EDC defence and Nhem races clear to make it 2-0 within five minutes. What the hell is going on? Mat Noron is angry He bursts down the right, before cutting inside and firing the ball petulantly into the corner 2-1, as if to show theoe pesky kids who is top dog when it comes to scoring goals. Just before half time Tuy Oudom picked up a loose goal kick and fed Noron in the right channel. He squared for Taboula to slot home an undeserved equaliser.

In the second half substitute Abdi nods home from a Pidor corner at the far post from a narrow angle to make it 3-2. Sub Mol Ly scores the goal of the game as he unleashes a thunderbolt into the top corner after a breakaway from a corner to make it 3-3.

Finally a Pidor corner causes confusion in the Reserves defence and the unlikely source of Maol Daravon nips in to prod home from 6 yeards 4-3.

The final whistle goes to round off a 4-3 win, of which the Reserves will probably finish with more credit than the first team, giving me food for thought. Well played everybody!

Friendly 2  EDC 1 -2 Kampong Chang 16/02/24

Our customary dodgy pre-season result came at home to the usually beatable Kampong Chang.

We took an early lead, from a throw in when Pom Vannak got to the byeline. Pheara’ s header was spilled by the keeper and Nhem was on hand to tap home. Seemed like the floodgates had opened, not so. Kampomg were more than capable and dangerous on the break. Their equaliser came from an old foe, Seth Rozip, who lashed home a Kouch Panha low cross. The winner came from Ly Sok with a fierce low shot. I throw on Taboula and Noron towards the end, but to no avail. I tell them they must do better and they agree. I’m not too disheartened by this result though it’s only pre-season.

Friendly 3  Kratie 1-4 EDC 21/02/24

We took on amateur outfit Kratie with an experimental team. New young defender Sok Panha opened the scoring from close range after a Mol Ly free kick. Im Hosan equalised with a close range volley from a corner. Soun Bath restored the lead with a fine header from a Mol Ly corner. Abdi made it three with a placed volley from Panha’s flighted ball in which sneaked in at the near post. Sub Mat Noron rounded off the scoring late on with an acrobatic volley again in at the near post. A comfortable afternoon and a much better performance all round.

Friendly 4 Vishaka 3 -3 EDC

We take on recently relegated Vishaka with a full strength starting XI. Pidor was felled in the box. Penalty. Ouk Ratana sends the keeper the wrong way. 1-0. Pidor added a second just before half time, latching onto a clever cross from Kakada and firing low past the keeper from the angle. Om Vannak volleyed a goal back for Vishaka after an incisive breakaway, Min Rattanak restored a two goal advantage with an emphatic finish after Taboula retrieved a Pisa cross and passed superbly for the midfielder to finish with aplomb. On 78 minutes Vasal powered home a header to make it 3-2. Then Man Phallin scored the goal of the game as he fired a blistering shot from the edge of the area to make it 3 all. I’m disappointed in how we let a 3-1 lead slip. Work needed ahead of the Kings Cup and start of the league campaign.

Friendly 5 EDC 3-1 TDC Bin Duong (VIE)

A great performance from a full strength team as they swept aside top tier Vietnamese outfit, TDC Bin Duong. On 58 minutes, Pelap Taboula fired in a beautiful free kick that David Beckham would have been proud of.  Almost immediately though the Vietnamese side hit back when a break down the right resulted in Dao Tan Tai slotting home an equaliser. On 74, Taboula intercepted the ball deep in their half and ran with it. His shot was blocked, but the rebound falls kindly for Chea Samnang who swept the ball home with a low shot. Taboula rounded off the scoring with a far post header from a Kakada free kick to put some gloss on a polished pre-season performance.

The King’s Cup EDC v Phnom Penh Crown 12/03/24

The Kings Cup, the Cambodian equivalent of the Charity Shield, or Community Shield as it is now known as in England is the showpiece ‘curtain raiser’ for the new C-League season between the league champions and the Hun Sen Cup winners. Surprisingly it will take place at our home ground, not at a neutral venue as is normally the case in these kinds of fixtures. The game adds a bit of flavour to the pre-season and is another piece of silverware to put in the newly bought trophy cabinet which proudly houses the Hun Sen Cup. I go in with a 4-2-3-1 with Rattanak unfortunately injured, so Pidor will play in an attacking midfield role behind lone striker Taboula, with Samnang and Kakada behind. Crown are a good side and so this game is a good opportunity to see where we are at compared to one of the best teams in Cambodia.

Team: 4-2-3-1 Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang , Oudom, Suhana, Pidor, Taboula

Match Action

Both sides start brightly. In Mol has a run and shot over the bar for Crown, while Taboula goes close with a flash header after good work by Tuy Oudom. Then my right winger pulls up and is replaced by young Chhim Pheara. We look up for this. Pisa overlaps on the right and puts in a great cross for Taboula, who can only head straight at the keeper, while the same player has a shot comfortably saved when he perhaps should have done better. Taboula has a volley well saved from yet another Pisa cross. Crown have a breakaway, but we get back and block In Mol’s shot. Then a lovely passing move, involving Kakada, Pidor and Taboula, results in the Nigerian turning provider by slipping in the overlapping Pheara. The youngster shows composure beyond his years to slide the ball home at the near post. A brilliant team goal and exactly what we deserve. We stream forward looking for a second, Pidor making menacing runs at the heart of the Crown’s defence, Pisa and Pheara combining down the right like they had played together for ten years and Sos Suhana making burrowing runs in from the left. We fail to add to our tally, 1-0 at the break, but we have been by far the better side.

We begin the second half as we ended the first with a couple of attacks which at times it almost looked too easy, but no goal t the end of it. We really need a second goal here. Suhana has a fierce shot just wide, Taboula tries a volley which goes over. Then , a warning. Sophana is sent through on goal, but Som is equal to him. Then, in the blink of an eye, Crown slice open our defence again and Sophana equalises after being put through on goal. Oh Dear. Both teams go for it. Crown have woken up. Their right wing back is running at Ratana, who blocks him. Red Card! What? My young defender is sent off. This is a problem as we head towards extra time.. Sos Suhana is now a makeshift left back. The game peters out into a 1-1 draw and so here we are again, extra time.

Crown soon get into their work and nearly score when Debeiro was denied at point blank range by the excellent Som. At the other end Noron has a shot way over the bar. Pidor is still full of running and he drives through midfield like it was only the first minute. He finds the impressive youngster, Pherea, who plays a lovely ball for the onrushing PIDOR!!! It’s 2-1 to EDC, it’s that man again, Sok Oeun Pidor to give EDC a shock lead! We try and keep possession, but give the ball away cheaply. The dangerous Sophana is off on one, but once again Som denies him with a brilliant save. Half time in extra time.

I go defensive, play a short low tempo passing game in an attempt to keep the ball as best we can and set timewasting to ‘whenever possible’ as Crown galvanise themselves once more. Sophana is running at us, but we block him. We even have another chance from a corner when Gbayoro headed straight at the keeper when he should have done better. We hold firm, Debeiro tries a through ball, but it is scooped up gratefully by Som. He kicks the ball out and there it is! EDC are the winners of the King Cup 2024! Another trophy to add to their cabinet alongside The Hun Sen Cup, Simply electrifying stuff!

 

Friendly 6 – EDC 1-2 Tre Tranh Pho Ho Chai Min (VIE)

The scheduling for this was far from ideal, so none of the players involved in the Kings Cup win are included, meaning a scratch team of fringe, reserve and youth players took on this Vietnamese Division 2 outfit. The visitors could certainly play and had no less than three goals chalked off for offside. We on the other hand created chances ourselves but could not convert. 0-0 at the break. I made a few changes at half time. We took the lead when sub Tuy Oudom burst down the right and found a peach of a cross onto Nhem’s forehead who finished powerfully at the near post. Tre Tranh hit back when Exal headed in from a free kick. Le Manh Dung scored the winner after firing home the rebound after being put through on goal on a breakaway. I’m not too bothered by the defeat and I am sure my young charges will learn from the experience.

I’m concentrating now on the competitive fixtures which begins with an away trip to re-promoted Svay Rieng.

International Call Ups

Four of my players have been called up for International duty. Ouk Ratana could win his 14th cap for the main Cambodia squad as they travel to Hong Kong in a World Cup Qualifier. Samnang Nhem, Soun Bath and Chhim Pheara will take on the Phillipines in a friendly for the U19s. For Pheara, this is will be his interntional debut, after catching the eye in The Kings Cup win over Phnom Penh Crown.

Job Interviews Declined

Boeung Ket and Phnom Penh Crown have both offered me job interviews, although apparently they have reservations about my lack of experience in winning silverware.. Err hello.. Crown we’ve just beaten you in the King’s Cup and as for Boeung Ket, we deservedly dumped you out in the Quarter Finals of the Hun Sen Cup and went on to lift the trophy..Idiots.. I’ll stay at EDC thankyou very much!!

Start of Season Thoughts

It’s amazing the difference a year makes. This time last year I was wondering how well my new team would do after the mass exodus of the pre-season transfer window. Two trophies later and I know exactly what this team is capable of. I believe they can become the best team in Cambodia and win the title this year. Of course to my players I just tell them I want to finish in the top half, because they would go mad if I told them otherwise. Not only do we have a good first XI, but also a good second XI that can come in and more than do a job. They young players we have could go on to become club legends, Soun Bath, Chhim Pheara, Pom Vannak, Pidor, the list goes on. Add to that the experience of Daravon, Suhana, Gbayoro and Khemarin and we have a great mix of youth and good solid pros. I am going for the C-League title this season, no doubt. 

The formalities of the pre-season are over, but can EDC hit the ground running in the new C-league campaign, or is it going to be another year of mediocrity? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

 

 
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oh dear! Its the years you think you're in with a shout that turn out to be the slog! 

Least in my experience. Much prefer it when I don't think I have a hope and end up coming away with something.

Hope your squad is the exception that proves the rule 

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I've been on holiday this week, and with no pc to play fm on, I was on the lookout for a good read to pass the time as I chill in the rugged picturesque surroundings of Donegal overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

I was drawn towards your ultimate fm story as I, myself, am in the infancy of my own version of a worldwide fm universe (although only with all leagues and countries loaded that came with the original game.). 

This has been a very enjoyable read. Whilst my good lady has been reading an Agatha Christie novel, I've been in Cambodia kicking every ball with EDC! I return home tomorrow and now can't wait to fire up my own save again, and get my team of amateurs to emulate your boys! I completely empathise with trying to keep players on non contracts from leaving. I'm not sure I'll have your patience though. KUTGW 

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Hi 'Appy Ammer,

Thankyou so much for reading my story and your lovely comments. So happy it managed to fill some time in on your holiday and inspired you to start your own game. Please let me know which team you start with. 

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I always start in Northern Ireland, but the world is my oyster after that. Tobermore United, in the bottom tier, were the first to offer me a job about 3 months into the season. Bottom of league and wages out of control due to high appearance fees and all non contract players, bar 2 amateurs! So I feel your pain on that front!! Still enjoying it though. 

Edited by \'Appy \'Ammer
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On 25/06/2022 at 12:18, \'Appy \'Ammer said:

I always start in Northern Ireland, but the world is my oyster after that. Tobermore United, in the bottom tier, were the first to offer me a job about 3 months into the season. Bottom of league and wages out of control due to high appearance fees and all non contract players, bar 2 amateurs! So I feel your pain on that front!! Still enjoying it though. 

Good luck with that. Sounds like a good challenge sorting through the squad and getting your best team together. 

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Posted (edited)
On 23/06/2022 at 11:29, Mandy42 said:

oh dear! Its the years you think you're in with a shout that turn out to be the slog! 

Least in my experience. Much prefer it when I don't think I have a hope and end up coming away with something.

Hope your squad is the exception that proves the rule 

To give you a quick spoiler the team are certainly living up to expectations, but as they say its a marathon not a sprint! Glad you enjoying the story down t'road in Wakefield.

Edited by Jon1982
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Part 49 - 433 Is The Magic Number

 

 

Could this be our year? I'm more than happy with the squad and according to Nen Borey, the Almighty Buddha is smiling on us, although I'm not sure how given the rise in energy prices recently.. Anyway the important thing is bar Kong Rafat and Teat Chandara, our reserve goalie and a 34 year old left back we have managed to keep our best players and the vast majority of our cup winning team. We've won the cup.. now I want the C-League.....

 

Match 1 – Svay Rieng v EDC

 

We kick off our C-League campaign with a trip to Svay Rieng, who are back in the big time after winning promotion from the Second Division. They have forward, Ly Ravy who has a good record against us and some talented youngsters. We need to put these sides away though if we are to win the league. I start with a 4-2-3-1, which has served us well recently.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, In Sambath, Kakada, Rattanak, Pheara, Oudom, Taboula, Pidor

Match Action

We start brightly. Young Pheara looks lively and slips in Taboula who fires well wide. We are in control of the game.  .seemingly, Then from a mysterious random throw in Prak Mony Udom receives the ball and crosses in for Sary Rottanak who volleys high into the roof of the net. That wasn’t supposed to happen... Pisa for the first time in the game gets forward down the right and fires in a cross which is hit first time by Rattanak but well saved by the keeper. Better.  Another chance falls to Taboula, but he fires straight at the keeper. Disappointing..

We’ve played OK, but find ourselves a goal down at half time.

Into the second half and I revert to a 4-2-2 with Oudom replaced by Noron to join Taboula up front. We attack with vigour. Pheara gets down the right and squares for Noron but his shot is blocked. Then, Pisa gets in on the right side of the penalty area and his fierce shot is tipped over the bar. The corner is cleared, but only as far as Pisa, who finds Rattanak. He chips it forward, Noron breaks the offside trap. He lays it back to Pheara!!!! He places it into the corner for a brilliant equaliser. 1-1. We push for a winner, but create surprisingly little, while at the other end the home side forced two fine saves from Som. The hosts finished the stronger as we flagged. A draw on the opening day of the season against a newly promoted side is disappointing, but not a complete disaster.

Final Score Svay Rieng 1-1 EDC

                           Rottanak 29                         Phera 53

Match 2: Tor Kraham v EDC - Hun Sen Cup First Qualifying Round

So we go back to the start again and try to qualify for the cup we won just 6 months ago. The beginning of the defence of the Prime Minister’s trophy starts off in the obscure climes of Tor Kraham. Unlike in previous campaigns I am going to make few changes, as some are still struggling for match fitness and form, so this could be a good opportunity to build these up. I go in with a 4-2-4 and a full strength team. Ratana replaces In Sambath at left back. Noron partners Taboula up front.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Rattanak, Oudom, Taboula, Noron, Pidor

Match Action

Inevitably we dominate, but still lacking that killer instinct. Noron volleys well over after good work from Pidor and Taboula has a shot well saved. Then Rattanak keels over in the middle of the pitch after a heavy challenge and is in absolute agony. He cannot move and the poor 21 year old is screaming in pain. The game stops for ten minutes while medical staff from both clubs rush onto the pitch to attend to my young midfielder. All the players are in bits, including the opposition; they know this is serious as he is crying out in agony. He is stretchered off the pitch to a standing ovation from everybody at the ground. My head physio, Sos Veasna indicates this could be a very serious injury. He is replaced by Chea Samnang. From the restart, Panha picks up the ball and runs straight through the EDC defence and places it past Som. It’s understandable in the circumstances; my player’s heads were not on football, but on their team mate. The Tor Kraham player also showed class by not celebrating his goal, even though it was a rather good one and against the current cup holders!

We attack, but they are equal to everything, blocking shots, keeper saving, playing really annoying offside trap. We look clueless as to how to break down this team. 1-0 to them at half time. In the circumstances it’s hard to give them the hairdryer treatment as I normally would have done. I change tactics though and take off Tuy Oudom and replace him with Samanag Nhem. I then go to a 4-3-3 with Taboula, Noron and Nhem leading the line with Pidor in the number 10 role.

We dominate again in the second half, but it looked like being one of those days. After our triumph in the Hun Sen Cup last season, this would be a horrible way to lose the defence of the trophy. Until. Pisa plays a lovely through ball down the right channel for Nhem to latch onto. He squares a lovely ball for the sliding Noron to fire home. Relief. We attack some more. Taboula gets into the left channel checks back and crosses. It’s headed away, but only as far as Chea Samnang who volleys home for 2-1. Another quick breakaway sees the slickest move of the game. Pisa, who really is a class act, switches play. Taboula heads to Noron who feeds Taboula on the edge of the area. His first time pass the onrushing Pidor is crucial and the youngster slides it home for 3-1 and much relief. We look like we may have a fourth goal in us, but it doesn’t matter, job done. Credit though must go to our opponents here, who never gave in and carried on attacking until the very end. Our class shone through in the end though and the lads have shown masses of character and togetherness today. Through to the next round we go, where we will once again make the six hour trip to the beautiful lands of Mondul Kiri..

Final Score Tor Kraham 1-3 EDC

Panha 20                                 Noron 63                              

 

                                               Samnang 68

                                               Pidor 70

Min Rattanak out for up to 12 months

As soon as the full time whistle was blown, we all went down to the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital to check on Min Rattanak. Sos Veasna and the doctor told us he had a damaged spine and would be out for 12 months at the most, meaning he will miss the whole season. We all wish him a speedy recovery...

Match 3: EDC v National Police 06/04/24

The rozzers are in town so the crime rate is down. They only just escaped relegation last season, but have since improved their squad, with the familiar face, Sung Rot feeding their dangerous striker, Chey Chitra. They also play in a dodgy diamond formation like Khemera, so I go in with a 4-3-3, which hurt Tor Kraham in the cup. Samnang Nhem starts up front in a three pronged attack with Noron and Taboula. This formation could be a great discovery for this team.

Team 4-3-3: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

We start brightly. Nhem gets down the right flank and finds Pidor whose pot shot is saved well by the keeper. Pidor then fires in a free kick which has their keeper at full stretch. A goal is coming and it arrives when Pidor finds Nhem inside the penalty area and he coolly slots past the keeper for a deserved lead. We attack some more. Nhem looks dangerous and has a shot tipped round the near post, while Taboula has a header saved too. Then, from a random free kick, Sok Oeun Pidor bends a beautiful free kick which the keeper could only parry into the roof of the net. 2-0. Then, from a corner, the referee awarded us a bonus penalty which Ouk Ratana converted to make it three.

In the second half and the police had a few attacks of their own to try and reduce the deficit, but to no avail. Chitra is hardly getting a kick. We add a fourth when Pidor’s determination on the edge of the box allows him to feed Pelap Taboula to place his shot past the keeper to open his account for the season. The Police charged forward again, but they could not break down our defence or beat Som. They hit the post late on, but that’s all. In the end, a comfortable win against a team who have caused us problems in the past. That bodes well!

Final Score EDC 4-0 National Police

Nhem 6

Pidor 33

Ratana 38 (pen)

Taboula 62

 

Match 4 – Prek Pra v EDC 13/04/24

We take on mid-table Prek Pra in good form. We start once more in a 4-3-3, with one change being Pheara coming in for the injured Samnang.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Pidor, Pheara, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

Match Action

Unfortunately I was laid low with a stomach bug, so my Assistant Manager, Nen Borey took charge of this one. Here's his notes and match report.

We are dominating this game and create a few chances.

Pisa is felled in the box, Ouk Ratana converts 1-0 to EDC

Pisa once again marauds down the right. He lays it infield to Nhem, who lets fly.. and finds the top corner of the net! Pick that one out! 2-0 to the EDC with less than 20 minutes on the clock. After three games we are top on goal difference with seven points, but most importantly only one goal conceded. We are getting the job done against the lesser teams in the division and furthermore from the end of last season, we are now on a ten match unbeaten run in league and cup. This is the consistency I have craved with this team. Who knows where it might lead?

Final Score: Prek Pra 0-2 EDC

                                                                    Ratana 11 (pen)

                                                                    Nhem 17

 

A Curious Twitter Poll Bug

On the game, EDC fans have actually had a poll to ask whether Min Rattanak should be part of the first team. One of the fans, Som Chenda had this to say, “Make him the focus of the team duh!”.. Well currently Min Rattanak is lying flat on his back in Royal Phnom Penh Hospital with broken spine, duh!” 

Match 5 – EDC v Khemera 27/04/24

It’s fair to say our record against Khemera is nothing short of abysmal. We have recorded just one win over today’s opponents in six meetings and that was way back in 2021 during the Keegan season, a 6-2 thrashing and when they were a newly promoted side. Since then Khemera have had the better of us in the last four games and have become our bogey team. If we can beat them today, then this would be one hurdle cleared towards winning the title. We have started the season well, but annoyingly find ourselves only in 6th because everyone had a round of fixtures without us for some strange reason.. Anyway we are fresh and raring to go. Khemera are just above us in 5th. A win today would see us jump into the top three with a game in hand. Abdi comes in for Noron and the versatile Pidor fills in the midfield hole left by Rattanak’s injury. I stick to the 4-3-3 formation which has served us well recently.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, PIdor, Pheara, Taboula, Abdi, Nhem

Match Action

We have the first attack. Nhem gets down the right flank and crosses for Pheara who heads over. After eight minutes, Pidor fires in a free kick which was parried by the keeper. Taboula responds quickest and taps home the rebound. 1-0. Khemera respond well and have a few attacks of their own, which we manage to snuff out without Som being called into action, Taboula has a shot straight t the keeper. Then, young Pheara plays in Abdi with a lovely through ball, but the Somalian Pele could only strike the foot of the post. Soon after, another Pidor free-kick from wide on the left was met by the head of Anderson Gbayoro who scored his first ever goal for EDC. Things were going swimmingly until Ratana pressed the self destruct button by going in two footed on their wing back, Hong Makara. I have to sacrifice Abdi for the versatile In Sambath who will slot in at left back, with only two strikers. We get to half time unscathed.

Into the second half and it’s like nothing has happened. Pisa skips down the right and crosses onto the head of young Pheara, but his header somehow goes over the bar. One great feature of this season so far has been Sok Ouen Pidor’s set pieces. He fires in a free kick to make it three and a strike that Roberto Carlos would have been proud of. It looks like our hoodoo against Khemera may finally be over...

Strangely, despite having only ten men on the pitch I could afford to rest Daravon and Taboula for the next match against Nagaworld. Khemera enjoyed a bit more possession and created a few chances, but there was an air of comfort about this game which we have rarely experienced before. Our defence was equal to everything and dealt with anything Khemera could throw at us. We never looked in any danger. As for Sok Oeun Pidor, he was the best player on the park, creating two goals and scoring one. Unbelievable! Up to 3rd we go with a game in hand, level on points with Nagaworld and behind Boeung Ket and Angkor Tiger. We are challenging already and unbeaten in 12 games.

Final Score EDC 3-0 Khemera

Taboula 9

Gbayoro 18

Pidor 60

An unbeaten start to the 2024 C-League has seen EDC rise to the upper reaches of the C-League table. But with matches against the bigger teams on the horizon, can our friends electric prove themselves as serious title contenders? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

 

 

 

Edited by Jon1982
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6 hours ago, BenArsenal said:

Broken spine sounds nasty. I hope the Cambodian medical system is up to scratch...:eek:

I got the unfortunately news that one of my players out on loan from Arsenal had a damaged spine. He's out for 9 months. Good to know the facilities at a league one club are 90 days ahead of Cambodia! 

Dubiously though it didn't say how he ended up with such an injury!! 

 

Good start to the league for EDC. Hopefully 4-3-3 will be the re-ci-pe! 

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7 hours ago, BenArsenal said:

Broken spine sounds nasty. I hope the Cambodian medical system is up to scratch...:eek:

Needless to say I didn't trust my physio with a Physiopherapy stat of 2 for this one and left it to the professionals instead . Strangely not long after the fans had a poll as to whether Rattanak should be in team.. 98% thought he should be as I alluded to. I think that must have been a bug on the game... 

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22 hours ago, Jon1982 said:

Needless to say I didn't trust my physio with a Physiopherapy stat of 2 for this one and left it to the professionals instead . Strangely not long after the fans had a poll as to whether Rattanak should be in team.. 98% thought he should be as I alluded to. I think that must have been a bug on the game... 

Perhaps they thought his hospital bed + spinal  traction equipment would make him the perfect goal keeper? 

More environmentally friendly than a parked bus as well 

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  • 3 weeks later...

                                                 Part 50 - Lighting the Spark

 

EDC have started the 2024 C-League season in electrifying form, chalking up 12 matches unbeaten, starting at the end of the previous season and continuing into this. Their form has seen them march into third place and look set to compete with the 'big boys' at the top of the table this term. 

Match 6 – Nagaworld v EDC 01/05/24

 When the fixture list comes out at the start of each season, this is the game we look out for first. The nasty casino away! They will be out for revenge after our little skirmish in the Hun Sen Cup Final, while I am confident that we can also get a result here. The only downside is that Ratana is suspended and Pisa cannot play against his parent club, so in come In Sambath and Run Sokha at left back to fill in. Noron is preferred to Abdi up front, while Pom Vannak comes into midfield to add solidity there. Pheara is the unlucky one to drop to the bench. We are both level on ten points each, with us in 3rd on goal difference and them in 4th. Math Fasal is excited about our reunion apparently, but he can get lost. All to play for, with no quarter asked and no quarter given in what is fast becoming a fierce rivalry.

Team: Som, In Sambath, Daravin, Gbayoro, Sokha, Vannak, Kakada, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

Match Action

Nagaworld make the early running in this one and have a couple of early half chances. We though look dangerous on the break and Taboula has an early run down the left which results in Pom Vannak skying the ball over the bar. Nagaworld are having too many free kicks for my liking. One such free kick though is charged down and like lightening we spring a counter-attack. Young Samnang Nhem picks up the ball and sprints down the right. He dribbles past two defenders, before slamming in a shot which is parried by the keeper, only into the path of Mat Noron who smashes the rebound into the roof of the net. A brilliant breakaway goal!  As we know Nagaworld don’t give in easily. They dominate possession. From a corner the ball is headed across goal and Man Ratana is denied brilliantly by Som from just three yards out. Nagaworld continue to dominate the game, but by hook or by crook our defence holds firm. Sokumpheak has a shot which just flashes wide, Math Fasal, who has been excellent runs the full length of the pitch after a sloppy thrown in from In Sambath, only to be denied by Som. Somehow, and I’m not sure how we lead 1-0 at the break. I’ve gone back to the formation that served us well in the cup final, with Pidor in the ‘wandering minstrel’ role.

At the start of the second half we enjoy a rare spell of possession involving Sambath, Kakada and Chea Samnang. The ball is laid back to Pom Vannak who flights a lovely ball to Tabbbboooouuullllaaa Goooooooaaaaaaaallllllll!!! He volleys it first time past the hapless keeper. What a goal! 2-0 to the EDC! Nagaworld still dominate possession, but it hardly matters. We are using the ball far more effectively when we do have it. Another breakaway sees Mat Noron skip past the defender on the right flank, before laying it off to Pidor whose vicious shot is tipped round the post by Soksela. We look fairly comfortable, until Heng Chamroeurn, still annoyed by missing all those chances in the cup final gets the bit between his teeth and cuts inside from the right flank before curling an unstoppable shot past Som to halve the deficit. We are made of sterner stuff these days though. I switch the tired Pidor for Pheara. The youngster sprints down the right before sliding in a delicious ball for Matty Noron who lashes it home emphatically much to the delight of the travelling support. 3-1. Nagaworld still don’t give in. Fasal who has been a constant thorn has a shot well saved by Som. The casino gamble and throw more men forward. We lose concentration and allow Fasal in unmarked to slide home a late consolation. Then, moments later, substitute Sovankamarin finds the back of the net, but fortunately it was disallowed for offside. We breathe a collective sigh of relief and see out the rest of the game. What a match!  

Final Score- Nagaworld 2-3 EDC

Chamroeurn 63                                   Noron 6,75

Fasal 90                                                 Taboula 47

Match 7 – EDC v National Defence 04/05/24

After the rollercoaster of the Nagaworld game, we take on re-promoted National Defence in what should be a straightforward home win. We can go joint top with Angkor Tiger, while the army side have done well so far this season and lie in 5th. Ratana comes back from suspension at left back, Pisa returns at right back, but Kakada misses out due to suspension, so Um Makara starts in defensive midfield and Samnang returns in centre mid after injury.

Team: 4-3-3 Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Makara, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

Match Action

As expected we dominate possession. From a cleared corner, Sok Oeun Pidor picks up the ball and flights a lovely ball. Chea Samnang cushion heads the ball to young Nhem who gallops past the defender and blasts an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the right edge of the penalty area. Brilliant from the youngster!

National Defence are winning too many free kicks though and two headers have already tested Som in our goal. Then, a direct free kick is parried by Som and cleared off the line by Ratana. Since our goal we can hardly get the ball and they have a few more half chances. Then Daravon finds Taboula and his fierce shot is well saved. We have attacked with menace when allowed to, but those opportunities have been few and far between, 1-0 at the break.

The second half starts, we really need a second goal here. Pidor looks knackered so I introduce Pheara and the youngster makes an instant impact as he combines with Taboula to register a header on goal. We see the game out, with only one or two random free kick scares which were easily dealt with by our defence. An efficient performance, albeit not the best, but job done and three more points in the bag.

Final Score: EDC 1-0 National Defence

                                     Nhem 4

Match 8: Mondul Kiri v EDC – Hun Sen Cup Second Qualifying Round

We make the 6-hour trip to Mondul Kiri for this cup fixture. Due to the tight scheduling we did not have time to visit the elephant sanctuary this time, but it was nice to be back in this beautiful part of the country. We have left some of our stars back in Phnom Penh, Taboula, Pidor, Daravon, Som and Gbayoro to rest them because we have another important league fixture coming up against Phnom Penh Crown. Therefore some fringe and youngsters get their opportunity to shine and contribute to what is now a squad effort. Professional pride tells me that I need to take the cup seriously again this year, but this time we are riding high in the league, so these guys have to step up to the plate too, even if they are not playing week in week out. I also want to see if Abdi can do it on a sweltering hot day in May at Mondul Kiri, I suppose the Cambodian equivalent to a cold February night in Stoke....

Team: Cheng Ravy, In Sambath, Makara, Khemarin, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Pheara, Soun Bath, Noron, Abdi

Match Action

It’s end to end stuff as the second division side give as good as they get. They have a free kick which just flashes wide and then Mantornornin shoots wide on the break. Abdi has a snapshot which is comfortable for the keeper. Soun Bath runs down the left and picks out Samnang who has a shot well saved. The same player then tries one of his trademark long range shots which flashes just past the upright.

Into the second half and I revert to a 4-2-4. Nothing is happening though and although we are dominant the players seem to lack the craft to unlock their defence. In fact we are knackered. Samanag tries another long range effort just wide. We look a bit toothless to be honest as the match drifts into extra time. We perk up a bit in extra time but create nothing, meanwhile Mondul Kiri are enjoying too much possession for my liking. I had one last trump card to play. On the bench, the veteran Chanraksmey is introduced really so he can take a penalty in the forthcoming shootout. Fellow sub Pidor picks up the ball in the middle of the park. He runs forward and flights a lovely ball to Chanraksmey who had timed his run to perfection. He cooly slots the ball under the keeper and into the corner of the net. That’s how you do it! 1-0 EDC. Mondul Kiri have a free kick, but it just flashes wide. Half time in extra time.

We look secure and should see out the game comfortably for a scrappy path to the next round. Then we press the self-destruct button. Young Pheara plays an aimless ball towards his own goal to nobody in an EDC shirt. Ly Noron seizes on the loose ball and Chhim Pheng races clear and slots past Cheng Ravy with just a minute to go on the clock. What was he doing? One each and the dreaded penalties we have...

Penalty Shoot Out

Mondul Kiri first Sok Oudom= Sends Ravy the wrong way

Up steps the veteran, Chanraksmey – Saved by the keeper! Oh dear!

Lim Oudom = Fires it into the top corner.

Ouk Ratana for EDC: Finds the bottom corner

Ly Noron = Low into the bottom corner

Mat Noron = Saved!

Chhim Pheng. Fires it hard into the top corner.

Mondul Kiri win 5-3 on penalties!

Final Score: Mondul Kiri 1-1 EDC (Mondul Kiri win 5-3 on penalties)

                    Pheng 120           Chanraksmey 98

 

EDC are knocked out of the Hun Sen Cup in dramatic fashion. There will be a new name on the cup this year! It’s time to concentrate on the league! Young Chhim Pheara is very upset, but he will learn from this.

 We board the bus in a disconsolate mood. For me it is a double-edged sword, while I am disappointed to lose to a team like Mondul Kiri, who we would normally beat standing on our head, the Hun Sen Cup was not really a priority this year. The league for me is the be all and end all. Had I fielded a full strength team we would have won, but on the other hand I do need to give my fringe and youth players their opportunity at some point.

Chhim Phera, the “Cambodian Wonderkid” sits at the back of the team coach with his head in his hands. The poor lad is gutted, but he is only seventeen years old and has a lot to learn, not just in football, but about being a man as well and he isn’t even that yet. I cannot be harsh on him. Perhaps the more experienced Mat Noron who made a similar mistake in the Hun Sen Cup Final which led to Nagaworld scoring a late equaliser which took the match to extra time should have known better, but poor old Pheara is just a kid. He also has the potential to be one of the best footballers at the club. As we rode through the East Cambodian countryside on the long road back to Phnom Penh, I sat down next to him..

“Chhim, Chhim.. don’t worry about it son, it was one of those things.”

“Boss I messed up and I am so sorry. If I had that moment again I would have kicked the ball into Row Z.”

“I know son, don’t worry you’re a great young footballer and you will learn by your mistakes.”

“I can’t help thinking that.... Suddenly the bus ground to a halt.

Oh great, just what we need.. a bus breakdown in the middle of nowhere..

I marched to the front of the bus to see what was going on. We were in the middle of rural Cambodia, not on the M25, so it would be unusual for us to be caught in a traffic jam.

To my surprise there were a couple of men standing in the middle of the road flagging us down. At first I was suspicious that these men could have been bandits. Perhaps they were EDC fans who needed a lift, maybe they had broken down? All I knew is we were on a narrow bridge over a large river.

Our bus driver, Leng Ravy and Nen Borey tentatively got off the coach with their hands raised in the air to see what these men wanted, which was a little bit worrying. The players, especially the younger ones who had seldom been out of Phnom Penh, including the already distraught Pheara all had concerned looks on their faces. I tried to calm them down while inside was absolutely s******* myself. I looked nervously down at the river below, thinking this could be a very sticky situation indeed..

Our concerns though were quickly dissipated when we saw Ravy and Nen Borey shaking hands with the men and leading them onto the coach.

“Boss, they need our help.”

“Do they need a lift?”

“No boss, they are fishermen. Apparently, they have caught a very big fish in the Mekong river, but they can’t pull it out.”

“They were wondering.. whether the lads could help?”

I thought about this. What if one of my players injures himself trying to pull a flipping fish out of a river... This was risky.. but on the other hand... what a great adventure and a boost to team spirit after our disappointing defeat.

Reluctantly I agreed and while Nen Borey relayed this to the two fishermen in Khmer, I instructed the lads to get off the coach and help.

There was a mixture of intrigue and excitement as we made our way down to the banks of the Mekong River and to the spot where the two men had caught the fish. Their rod was being held by a third fisherman who welcomed the sight of sixteen strapping young men, plus me and my backroom staff scrambling down the riverbank to help them.

We assembled into a line, forming a chain behind the man with the rod, similar to that of a tug of war.

“After three.,. 1-2-3 HEAVE!”

“Heave!”

After several such heaves finally with a large splash, the large fish was hauled onto the bank.

I know nothing about fishing but even I could see that is was a big one!

The fish turned out to be a female stingray, one of the largest species in the world!

After the players took several selfies with the fish on their phones and to big thanks from the three fishermen we boarded the bus and carried on our merry way back to Phnom Penh. The disappointment of our defeat soon forgotten as the players chatted about the fish. Even Pheara raised a smile as he joined in with the banter and laughter which consumed the coach as we approached the capital.

Match 9: Phnom Penh Crown v EDC

After our disappointment in the cup, we now take on the Champions, Phnom Penh Crown. While we are in the dizzy heights of 2nd place, Crown lie in 4th. Needless to say the big guns are back for this one, with the usual back four restored and Pidor, Taboula etc returning to the starting line-up. We can now at least purely concentrate on the league, so our cup defeat could be a blessing in disguise.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Vannak, Kakada, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

Match Action

We start brightly. Pidor wins the ball in midfield and feeds Taboula whose shot is well saved. Then from a brilliant goal kick, Som sends Nhem in on goal, but his fierce shot is beaten away by the keeper. Pidor then has a go, but his strike is brilliantly saved. What do we have to do to score? Nhem has another couple of efforts saved by the keeper who is having the game of his life. It’s only a matter of time surely? Nhem has another shot acrobatically tipped over the bar. Pisa picks up the ball and the right back lays it infield for Pidor, who slips a beautiful ball through for Mat Noron to squeeze a shot past the keeper at his near post. Taboula has a further effort ruled out for offside. 1-0 at the break.

The second half follows a similar pattern to the first, with us dominating. Nhem has another shot saved after a breakaway. Then on 68 minutes, Noron wins the ball back brilliantly in midfield and feeds Samnang Nhem, who races clear and fires past the keeper into the corner for 2-0. More good work from Kakada in midfield enables him to free substitute Ahmed Abdi. The Somalian Pele provides a finish the great man would have been proud of. 3-0. Pascal Lamour pulls one back for the hosts after scrambling home a rebound from a free kick. A brilliant away win against the champions. The front three and sub Abdi were absolutely superb. To the top of the table we go!

Final Score: Phnom Penh Crown 1-3 EDC

                         Lamour 89                    Noron 42

                                                              Nhem 68

                                                              Abdi 87

 

League Table (after 6/7 games)

1st EDC 19

2nd Angkor Tiger 16

3rd Boeung Ket 16

4th National Defence 12

5th Phnom Penh Crown 11

6th Nagaworld 10

7th National Police 10

8th Khemera 10

9th Chllam Samuth 9

10th Prek Pra 7

11th Svay Rieng 5

-------------------------------------------------------

12th Chmao Khmao 4

13th Build Bright United 2

14th Wat Phnom 0

Match 10 EDC v Chhlam Samuth

We aim to carry on our excellent league form against makeweights, Chhlam Samuth. They of course have Keo Udom up front and one or two experienced players which may see them through this one. I make one change, Chea Samnang comes in for Pom Vannak. Otherwise its the same team which beat The Crown.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Nhem, Noron, Taboula

Match Action

It’s end to end stuff in the opening minutes. Daravon’s mistake lets in Keo Udom but Som is equal to it. We win a corner after a mazy run from Pidor saw his shot blocked by the defender. Pidor swings it in and Pelap Taboula rises highest to nod home off the underside of the crossbar. 1-0 EDC. We have numerous more chances to extend our lead. Taboula fires wide and Noron smacks the crossbar after good work from Nhem. Pidor is full of running in attacking midfield He lays off to Kakada who flights a lovely ball into the penalty area, Noron latches onto it and fires past the keeper for 2-0. Another breakaway ended up with Taboula who fired in his second to secure another victory for the EDC. Samuth score a late consolation through our old friend Mr Udom, but it hardly mattered. We march on and lead the way after a third of the season.

Final Score: EDC 3-1 Chllam Samuth

                     Taboula 13,71         Udom 90

                            Noron 41 

EDC can't stop winning in the league and are top of the table after eight matches. Can they march onwards to glory or will it all go Pete Tong (again)? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

 

                                                             

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On 04/08/2022 at 18:30, BenArsenal said:

Well! That was quite an adventure with that fish!

Based on a true story from Cambodia, but not to my knowledge involving any footballers.. That bit was made up 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Part 51 - Going Toe to Toe With The Tiger

EDC have made a fantastic start to the 2024 C-League Season and are so far unbeaten in the league, suffering only one defeat all season in the Hun Sen Cup to minnows Mondul Kiri. However our friends electric have bigger fish to fry this season, including helping three fishermen haul one out of the Mekong River which made national headlines. Can EDC manage to land the big catch of the C-League Title this season, or will they be caught by the other form team in Cambodia, Angkor Tiger who they find themselves three points behind EDC at the top of the league table after 8 games? Firstly though we have to navigate the choppy waters of the 'mid season' transfer window..

Transfer Window

Players In

EDC re-sign Joly

I am delighted to welcome back our promising left back, Ayoub Joly to the Electricity Stadium. You may remember he surprisingly left us for the brighter lights of Phnom Penh Crown, but after not making a single appearance for the Champions, he holed up at Prek Pra where he once again did the square root of nothing. That’s until we offered him a return to his ‘hometown’ club where he will provide cover for Ratana at left back.

 

Graca Joins EDC

EDC’s first thousand pound player flew into Phnom Penh airport from The Cape Verde Islands. He can play on the right wing and  attacking midfield, in the mould of Suon Veasna. An exciting signing for the club.

Players Out

Sos Suhana Leaves EDC

My experienced winger, Sos Suhana has joined fellow C-League outfit, Wat Phnom. He did a solid job for us over two seasons, making 38 appearances and scoring two goals. Unfortunately he has been a victim of my decision to play in a 4-3-3 this year and so with my blessing he was allowed to leave the club. I wish him well.

Morgan Laurent joins Phnom Penh Crown

Morgan Laurent has not featured much for us, so I allowed him to leave the club thinking he would probably carve out a decent career in the Second Division. Seems like The Crown have seen something I haven’t and snapped him up..

Khek Khemarin joins Mekong Kampuchea University

My club captain has gone back into higher education and joins the obdurate students at Mekong Kampuchea University. At 32 he is probably more of a mature student though. He wanted to leave the club after losing his place to Gbayoro in the heart of the defence. Khemarin did a solid job for us making 53 appearances, often as an understudy.

Kouch Rithy joins Nagaworld

My third choice keeper, Kouch Rithy has jumped ship to rivals Nagaworld on a free. He made a few appearances  couple of years ago and for a while was understudy to Kong Rafat. I never quite trusted him though because he had a handling stat of only 1 and despite intensive training on this area of his game it never improved. Maybe Nagaworld see something in him that I don’t.

I'm hoping I don't live to rue the day that two experienced heads like Suhana and Khemarin have left the club...

Match 11- Build Bright United v EDC

Back on the road again, this time to re-promoted Build Bright. While we are top on goal difference they are languishing in 11th place after a poor start to the season. If we are to challenge for the title this season we should be putting these teams away, so this is a good test as to how serious we are about maintaining our great start to the season. Ratana and Gbayoro are suspended so in comes Um Makara. New signing Joly to make his second debut at left back (Let’s hope it goes better than his first). Aderito Graca is out with a slight niggle but should hopefully make his debut soon.

Team: 4-3-3 Som, Pisa, Daravon, Makara, Joly, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

Match Action

Build Bright start, well, brightly and have an effort over the bar from a free-kick. Right back Pisa hobbles off with a knock to his knee and is replaced by In Sambath. From the resulting throw-in Nhem finds Pidor and then to Um Makara. Um Makara what the hell is he doing there on the right wing? MAKARA GET BACK!! What’s he doing there? He flights in a lovely ball for Pelap Taboula to guide the ball home at the far post! Aww great ball Makara fantastic son.. Now get back where you belong!!

We dominate in the way we normally do this season. Noron has an effort well saved low down and Nhem almost finishes off a lovely move but his shot is parried away for a corner. Joly, who is enjoying a solid second debut does his full back job to perfection by block tackling their winger when he tried to skip past him. He then flights a ball forward which is missed by the defender and helped on by Mat Noron to Samnang Nhem who is one-on-one with the keeper. Never in doubt 2-0 a lovely finish from the youngster, his fifth goal of the season. Two up at the break...

In the 60th minute I make three changes, Abdi for Noron, Pheara for Pidor and Pom Vannak for the tired Kakada. Straight away they combine and Abdi is brought down in the box. Taboula takes the penalty, but his tame effort is saved by the keeper. Oh dear! Then from the restart, Build Bright pull one back. Ouk Udom releases Sokpheng who fires it low past Som...Then for the rest of the game.. Nothing, the game just ticked, no action whatsoever. Final whistle goes. I’ll take this a 2-1 win which takes us three points clear at the top of the league for the time being. Well done boys!

Final Score: Build Bright United 1-2 EDC

Sokpheng 62                     Taboula 9

                                             Nhem 42

Top of The C-League Table After 8/9 Games

EDC 25

Angkor Tiger 22

Boeung Ket 20

Nagaworld 16

National Defence 15

Match 12 EDC v Chmao Khmao

We are eighteen games unbeaten and still have not been defeated in the league this season. I expect this to continue against lowly Chamao Khmao. Gbayoro and Ratana are back and the rest are unchanged as we seek to keep pace with Angkor Tiger at the top of the table. They do have Touch Dara in their ranks, signed from Nagaworld, but other than that this should be a comfortable afternoon.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

Match Action

The visitors give as good as they get and have a couple chances we need to up our game. Som pulls off a fine double save and from the resulting corner some poor marking from us allows Kem Chamroeurn to nod home unopposed. Sort it out lads! I demand more and they respond. Normal service is resumed when from a poor goal kick Noron heads to Taboula who runs through on goal. He unselfishly squares it for Nhem who taps into an empty net from the angle. Pheww! We begin to assert our dominance but fail to create a chance of note. Then ex-EDC man Raymond Etim squirms his way into the box and smacks the upright with a fierce shot. Khmao are determined to make a game of this. At the other end, a random free kick from Pidor finds the forehead of Samnang Nhem who buries it low into the corner of the net for a slightly undeserved 2-1 lead at the break.

We start the second half a bit sloppy. Kakada loses the ball and Prum Sambath runs through with the ball forcing a fine save from Som. This is a rocky road. Chmao Khmao win another corner and the same player, Kem Chamroeurn nuts in an equaliser. FFS! I throw on Abdi and new boy Graca to make a difference. Gbayoro wins an important challenge and the ball ends up with Abdi, who lays off to Taboula. The Nigerian offloads to Graca who slips it to Kakada. The midfielder slips a lovely through ball for the onrushing Abdi who gives the keeper the eyes and slides it effortlessly into the corner of the net. Brilliant goal!!

We look good on the break. Graca shows a few nice touches. Taboula hits the upright from one such breakaway. Chamao don’t give up and still attack. We defend well, but not without a few scares. Much relief as the final whistle goes and we scrape a hard fought 3-2 win. This though is the stuff of which Champions are made...

Nagaworld Do Us a Favour!

Normally I would not celebrate a Nagaworld win, but on this occasion the casino have done the electricity company a favour by beating the beer company, Angkor Tiger, our nearest challengers 3-0. So far this season we have been going toe to toe with the Tiger and have both been unbeaten with identical records, until now. After 10 games we are now three points clear and the only unbeaten team in the C-League after nine straight wins.

Top of The Table after 9/10 Games

 

EDC 28

Angkor Tiger 25

Boeung Ket 23

Nagawold 20

Phnom Penh Crown 20

International Call Ups

There’s a lull in proceedings for the International break. Two of my charges have been called up to the Cambodian National Team, Ouk Ratana and loan signing Chhom Pisa. They will take on Japan at home and then face a tricky trip to North Korea in the Asian World Cup Qualifying Group. Meanwhile, Pheara, Nhem and Soun Bath are called up to the U19s as they take on their counterparts from China and Lebanon in two friendlies. 

It’s fair to say we are flying and after ten games find ourselves three points clear and still unbeaten in the league. But let’s not get too carried away, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Whatsmore we have been a little bit lucky to win in our last two games against lower opposition, Chmao Khmao and Build Bright United. We now take on one of the bigger boys, Boeung Ket, of which we have only beaten three times during my reign, most notable 2-0 in the Hun Sen Cup Quarter Final. They are lying in third and have the Nigerian, Omakafe firing in the goals for them once again. They will be a threat and we will have to be at our best to beat them. I make once change, with Pom Vannak coming in for Chea Samnang in midfield.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana Vannak, Kakada, Pidor, Taboula, Noron, Nhem

 

Match Action

It’s end to end as both teams assert their dominance on the game, but without creating anything of significance. Pidor is looking to run at the Boeung Ket defence. Then on twelve minutes Chhun Chouen intercepts the ball and proceeds to run half the length of the field and squeeze the ball home past Som at his near post. Nobody could keep up with this guy! 1-0. It’s almost two when a cleverly worked free kick let in Sotheaven who forced a good save from Som. We come back into it. Daravon flashes a header wide from a Pidor free kick and Nhem has a shot beaten away after a swift breakaway. The hosts then have couple of chances to make it two. We are skating on thin ice here. One nil at the break. I substitute the ineffectual Noron for Graca and will play a 4-2-4, retaining the holding midfielders, Vannak and Kakada, but having Pidor wide left and the Cape Verdean wide right. Come on lads we can do this! Second half. They kick off we cannot get hold of the ball. Former EDC man Ouch Oudom plays a teasing ball into the box. Our defence hopes Som can get there, but Rasheed Omakafe is alert and nips in to poke the ball beyond him into the net to double their lead. We respond well but cannot land a blow. Substitute Abdi has a header brilliantly saved from a Pidor free kick. Two late disallowed goals from Graca and Abdi further added to our frustrations. The FM gods were firmly against us tonight and our amazing 14 match unbeaten run has finally come to an end, but it’s not a complete disaster.

Final Score – Boeung Ket 2-0 EDC

Chhoeun 13

Omakafe 48

 

Match 14: Angkor Tiger v EDC 29/06/24

It’s showdown time. At the halfway point in the season we finally face our challengers for the league title, Angkor Tiger. The beer company have been going toe to toe with us all season and we can only be separated at the top by goal difference, of which they just shade by one goal. They are a good side and have a very good Nepalese striker, Bista who could cause us problems, alongside Matnornin their left winger... you know what enough of that! We have some great players too, Taboula, Graca, who makes his first start, Pidor, Samnang, Daravon...  Yeah we can beat this lot, even though Kakada is suspended. Come on EDC! We’ve got this! Let’s beat the Tiger!

Team: 4-2-3-1 Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Makara, Samnang, Pheara, Pidor, Graca, Taboula

 

Match Action

We start well and a flowing move through midfield results in Pidor shooting just wide. The from a clearance Bista is one on one with Som (bit of a Klose bug going on) but he stands firm and parries it wide for a corner. Sok Samnang has the ball in our net, but was disallowed for offside. Meanwhile another good move from us results in Graca having a fierce shot well saved. The Nepalese striker, Bista is as strong as an ox and he barges Gbayoro out the way, who is no shrinking violet himself. He beats Som but not the upright and Samnang clears. That’s the closest either side have come to breaking the deadlock in this tightly contested game. It’s end to end stuff. Pidor and Taboula combine well, but Graca’s shot is blocked. At the other end, Samnang forces another fine save from Som after a lucky deflection. They have been the better team, but 0-0 at half time. It’s evenly matched as the two teams at the top of the C-League go toe to toe.

Into the second half, we have a spell of possession but create little. Our defence have struggled with Bista’s aerial presence all day. A long ball is flicked on by the Nepalese striker to the onrushing Phanhasith who seemingly appears out of nowhere to sprint into the box and slide the ball past Som... We respond by taking off Graca and Pheara  for Noron and Nhem. I go to the 4-3-3 which has served us well this season and take a more direct approach. This almost works as Taboula shoots just wide. A feature of Tiger’s play has been the onslaught of long goal kicks which have caused problems in our defence. One such hoofball results in Mantornornin sending Samnang into the channel. He works half a yard before sliding in a low cross for Bista to tap home from 2 yards.. Killer..

We respond well. Taboula gets down the left channel before providing a cross which was headed just over by Samnang. Then an incisive one touch breakaway involving Taboula, Noron and Pidor results in Nhem having his fierce shot brilliantly saved. It’s just not our day..  Pidor then has a shot well saved. The same player then whips in a free-kick and Maol Daravon stoops to head home a late consolation. We deserve a goal. We have played well, but Tiger have just been too strong for us on the day. There’s no shame in this defeat and on another day it could have been a different story. We have gone toe to toe with the tiger but ultimately lost...

Final Score Angkor Tiger 2-1 EDC

Phanhasith 48                          Daravon 90

Bista 70


Can EDC recover from losing their unbeaten run to Boeung Ket and then a damaging defeat to title rivals Angkor Tiger? Find out next time on the Ultimate World Football Manager Game! 

Edited by Jon1982
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52. Keeping up with The Tiger 

 After two damaging defeats in our title bid, to Boeung Ket and our title rivals, Angkor Tiger we still find ourselves in with a shout as we approach the halfway point in the season. The team are playing well and have found something that has been lacking in recent seasons - consistency. Now as we take on some of the lesser sides in the C-League we must not slip up in our bid to keep up with the Tiger.

 

New Leagues Added

It seems a strange time to do this I know, but here’s an update on the playable leagues on the Ultimate World Football Manager Game.

Cambodia

Viet Nam

Malaysia

Thailand

Indonesia

Bangladesh

India

Nepal

Pakistan

Singapore

Greenland (just because I can!)

Match 15 – EDC v Wat Phnom

After two narrow defeats to stronger teams in the league we now face the bottom side, Wat Phnom, who have only three points with only one win all season. This is a chance to get back on track and keep pace with Angkor Tiger who are three points ahead of us. I revert to my 4-3-3, with Pisa and Makara suspended, in come Joly at left back with Ratana switching sides to right back.

Team: Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Joly, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Nhem, Noron, Taboula

Match Action

We should be starting brightly here and dominating, but the FM gods see it otherwise and award the visitors a series of free kicks and a yellow card to Daravon. What gives? Then our old foe, Miroslav almost gives them the lead when a hoof ball from their keeper sends Sinoun away, but luckily Daravon got back to make a last ditch tackle.. We create a couple of half chances but nothing much. Then our old right back Sam Chanroeurn gallops down the right and sticks the ball perfectly on Sinoun’s forehead for a shock 1-0 lead. We just have not got going here.. I revert to a 4-4-2 with Nhem in the AMR role. Pidor has not given up and he goes on a barnstorming run through the middle from the left hand side. He finds Chea Samnang, whose lovely slide rule pass finds the onrushing Taboula to slot home. Pheeww! We begin to assert our authority and using the full width of the pitch which is stretching Wat Phnom. Kakada has acres of space in which to pick out the onrushing Taboula for him to slide home his second of the game. 2-1 at half time.

They start brightly and Sinoun has an early chance to equalise but he skews it over the bar. Then we find our inner Barcelona c2010. Kakada, Pidor, Samnang and Nhem all combine to send Matty Noron through to finish high into the top corner for 3-1. Samnang who has run the show in midfield strides forward once again. He slides in Noron who unselfishly checks inside and lays off to the onrushing Nhem to fire home his 7th  goal of the season.    

Ung Rottanak scored a late consolation after good work from another familiar face, Sos Suhana for the visitors, but it mattered little. 4-2 the final score. We close the gap at the top to one point after Tiger could only draw 2-2 with the National Defence. The title race is hotting up!

Final Score EDC 4 – 2 Wat Phnom

Taboula 23.38          Sinoun 13 Noron 60                               Rotanak 90

Nhem 68

Ukraine beat Russia 2-1 to win The Euros 2024

The world rejoiced when Ukraine sent Russia packing in the European Championship Finals after a 2-1 win... I’ll say no more......

Halfway Point in the Season

 

We are the exact halfway point in the season and our title challenge, despite two recent defeats is still on track. We lie in 2nd, just one point behind Angkor Tiger, so it is all to play for as we enter the second half of the season and the return fixtures.

 

1st Angkor Tiger 32pts

2nd EDC 31

3rd Nagaworld 29

4th Boeung Ket 27

5th Phnom Penh Crown 27

6th National Defence 21

7th National Police 16

8th Khemera 16

9th Chhlam Samuth 15

10th Svay Rieng 11

11th Chmao Khmao 11

12th Prek Pra 10

13th Build Bright United 8

14th Wat Phnom 3

Things were going well and there was a buzz around the club, the players had an extra zip in training and even though energy prices were going up, all seemed well in Team Electric. There was one problem though.... The Somalian Pele did not seem to be embracing the good times. He was not training well and when he did get on the pitch, apart from the odd flash of brilliance was not putting in the effort that I would expect from one of my players. Was he and his family OK? Was he settling into his adopted country? Gone was that enthusiastic kid who had shown up randomly on our training field after watching The Hun Sen Cup Final barefoot on a television in a shop window in the middle of downtown Phnom Penh. I decided after discussion with Nen Borey to pull him into my office one day after training.

Me: "Ahmed. I don't know what it is, but you haven't been yourself lately?

"Boss, I want to start more games. I'm not getting enough playing time. I am the best striker at this club, yet you don't play me."

"Ahmed, I'm bringing you off the bench I'm making sure you get your appearance money. I've even started you in the odd game.

"It's not enough! I want to play every game!."

"Look Ahmed it's not as simple as that. Look you'll get your opportunity if Taboula, Nhem or Noron become injured or lose form. At the moment I cannot drop any of them, they are bang in form and winning us games."

"Why you play Nhem, huh? he's just a kid. He should be in Reserves."

"Ahmed, Nhem is our top goalscorer and a fantastic prospect. He and Taboula are forming a great understanding. As for Noron he's my senior striker, with a great record at this level. I can't just drop him out the team for no reason, other than give you more starts/"

"I see, you don't want me here? I go join Nagaworld.."

I wondered whether the casino had been in his ear. It wouldn't be the first time. Every transfer window they practically stalk Ouk Ratana...

"Ahmed. You'll get your opportunity, but you just have to be patient. I see you more as an impact player at the moment, someone who can come off the bench and change the game if it is not happening for one of the other three. You are very much part of my plans."

"Well prove it then! Give me more starts I won't let you down."

"Look Ahmed I'll see what I can do and try and give you more starts OK, but I'm not promising anything."

"Boss I need you to promise. I need to feed my family."

"Ahmed you get £100 each time you step on the pitch."

"Boss, if I am sat on the bench I cannot score goals, or assist goals so I earn even more money!" I go to Nagaworld where they will pay me every week!"

"Look Ahmed I promise I will give you more starts."

"Thankyou boss. I won't let you down."

Match 16: EDC v Svay Rieng 20/07/24

We are at the exact halfway point in the season and so are now playing the reverse of each game so far, starting with Svay Rieng who we drew with on the opening day. They play with wing backs, so I will trouble them with the 4-3-3. In Sambath is suspended, but otherwise (minus Rattanak) it is a full strength squad to choose from. After our little chat, Abdi is given another opportunity up front, in place of Mat Noron.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Abdi, Nhem

Match Action

We dominate possession but create little and keep being caught offside. Nhem looks dangerous on the right side of the three pronged attack and on the break from their set pieces. A  poor goal kick is hit straight at Pidor, who passes forward to Abdi, who cleverly helps the ball on to Nhem who outpaces his defender and fires confidently home to open the scoring. Svay Rieng though have a habit of scoring goals from nowhere and their equaliser is a random free-kick fired home by Men Samnang. 1-1 with only ten minutes on the clock, Rieng seem to be winning quite a lot of free-kicks, but are piling men forward and not leaving enough defenders back to snuff out any breakaway. From one such free-kick, we clear our lines and it is 3 on 2. Taboula, Abdi and Nhem all bearing down on goal. The ball is transferred to the latter who runs into the box, but is tripped. Penalty! Up steps Ouk Ratana to fire the ball into the top corner from the spot to restore our lead. The visitors cannot cope with the pace in my forward line. Pidor picks up the ball and runs at their defence and slips in Abdi who rounds the keeper and easily slots home number three. We are cutting through them at will now. Abdi is given far too much time and space once again and the Somalian this time releases Pelap Taboula to get his name on the scoresheet by firing in a powerful shot into the corner. 4-1 after just 33 minutes, this could be anything now. Not so.The rest of the game was a non-event and to be fair to Svay Rieng they were sharper in the tackle and made life far more difficult for us, but the damage was done and the game won. A good solid win as we keep pace with Angkor Tiger at the top of the table.

Final Score: EDC 4-1 Svay Rieng

                               Nhem 8                    Samnang 11

                               Ratana 13 (pen)

                               Abdi 18

                                Taboula 33

Match 17 – National Police v EDC 28/07/24

We visit the boys in blue just one point off the top of the table behind Angkor Tiger. We just have to keep winning each game and hope they slip up. I also hope to have enough points in the bag so that the final game of the season against our rivals does not become a title decider.. but that’s then this is now, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Due to the annoying disciplinary rules in Cambodia (Cheers @Timo) both my centre backs are suspended for this one, so the baton is passed to Ouk Ratana, who moves to centre back and replaced by Joly at left back and Um Makara. Otherwise it’s as you were with hopefully Abdi continuing his impressive form from the last game. The Police are down in 8th and have improved from last season when they nearly got relegated. They have the dangerous Chey Chitra in their ranks and ex-EDC man, Sung Rot, who can really cause us problems.

Team: 4-3-3: Som, Pisa, Ratana, Makara, Joly, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Abdi, Nhem

Match Action

Opening 15 minutes.. nowt.. 16th minute we get a corner whoppey doo. Cleared.. They annoyingly have the ball. We get a free-kick which Pidor floats in and Ratana heads into the keeper’s arms, a half chance..  Makara flights a lovely ball to Taboula who finds Abdi in the area... Oh saved. Should have scored..  Suddenly Pisa bursts down the right flank with a much needed bit of urgency. His cross is cleared but only as far as Samanag who finds Pidor who plays it on to NHEMMM!!!! Ooh what a goal he fires it into the top corner God I love this guy! 1-0 to the EDC! We’ve grown in confidence and enjoy a good spell of possession. Pisa plays a well weighted ball down the right channel for Nhem who gets the byeline and Taboula!! The Nigerian nods home his tenth goal of the season. Superb play EDC! But... Just when things were going swimmingly Kakada sticks out a leg and sends Sung Rot flying.. He’s already on a yellow.. it’s an early bath for him.. Pom Vannak replaces Abdi to sit in front  of the back four. The Police are knocking it about and Chitra goes close with a header over the bar when he should have done btter. It’s not over yet. Half Time.

We are a different animal though this season. We aint gonna let a silly sending off ruin our day. The Police’s attack breaks down thanks to Pisa’s challenge and the full back finds Taboula on the left wing with a flighted ball. The Nigerian runs menacingly at his fullback before crossing an improbable ball for young Nhem at the far post who nips in and sidefoots home from the tightest of angles. God we are good.. 3-0.. Hold on! Ros Pheara fires a goal back with a stunning effort into the top corner. 3-1.. Is there late drama? No.. We see it through to the end with a bit of short slow passing and time wasting. For the time being we are two points clear at the top of the table. Over to you Angkor Tiger!

Final Score: National Police 1-3 EDC

Pheara 77                    Nhem 38,50

                                       Taboula 44                                                                                           

As EDC keep up the pace at the top of the C-League table, can they maintain their form, or will complcency and an unhappy Somalian Pele scupper their title dreams? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Footbll Manager Game! 

 

 

 

Edited by Jon1982
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On 21/09/2022 at 13:45, BenArsenal said:

Good news all round :thup:

Do you foresee leaving Cambodia? Or will you be sticking around?

It's funny you should say that Ben but I am in somewhat of a dilemna. I would dearly love to start a new story with my local team who play at Level 12 on the English football pyramid because I could put in much more local references and places that I am familiar with. On the other hand I have built up a following with this story across various platforms, here, Reddit and Facebook, that it would be a huge wrench to give it up just like that after 18 months of doing this story.... 

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Part 53. Chasing The Tiger's Tail

 

When we left off last time, EDC were riding high at the top of the C-League, going toe to toe with everybody's favourite Cambodian beer company, Angkor Tiger. At just past halfway in the season, it has been neck and neck, tit for tat, neck and crop, or whatever other depictions of closeness you wish to use. It seems that the season is heading for a final day showdown, when the two sides meet at the Electricity Stadium in the final game of the season on 2nd November 2024.. Until then there are ten more games to play. Who will blink first?

 

Board Confidence

Now you would think, given our position in the table, the board would be very happy, encouraging and supportive in our quest for the league title.. However my chairman, Hem Vutha and his cronies in the boardroom are indeed hard taskmasters. Despite only two defeats all season and a sustained challenge for the title, the board, while very pleased with my performance as manager are disappointed with the results we are getting on the pitch Eh?

Club Vision C+

Matches C- (strangely)

Transfer Market Performance B-

Tactics B-

Squad backing B+

Thanks for your support boardroom....

Match 18: EDC v Prek Pra 04/08/24

A should-win game against lowly second bottom side, Prek Pra at home. Our opponents though can put a spanner in the works against the bigger sides having recently held Boeung Ket 2-2. Daravon and Gbayoro return, while Kakada is suspended so Um Makara steps forward into the ball winning midfielder role. News just in: Angkor Tiger were held at home by Chhlam Samuth 1-1.. We could go top with a win here after the same amount of matches. Come on EDC!

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Makara, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Abdi, Nhem

Match Action

We inevitably dominate with our opponents who are parking the team bus in front of their goal. We create a few half chances but our bark is worse than our bite in the opening fifteen. I tell my full backs to get forward to create more width. The front three combine well, but can’t beat their offside trap let alone the keeper. Time ticks on. Prek Pra venture out of their half and create... 0-0 still as we tick towards the break..

Then, out of nowehere, Pidor swings in an up and under of a corner kick which causes a bit of panic in the box. An EDC player goes down, not sure who, my players appeal for a penalty. Given! Up steps young Ratana who smashes it straight into the bottom corner. Get in! I don’t care how they come. 1-0 to the EDC. Then, the busy Makara releases Taboula down the left channel who crosses for Abdi who leaps like a salmon and fires his header just wide! Big chance missed to make it two by the Somalian Pele. Pisa then gets down the right and the keeper makes a fine save from an instant Nhem shot. Still just the one goal as we troop into the dressing room at half time.

Into the second half and Prek look a bit more ambitious. Panha has the ball on the left. Good sliding challenge from Pisa, but he has injured himself in the process. I sub him for In Sambath. Panha has the ball again. Good sliding challenge from Sambath.. but he’s injured himself in the process. I have nobody else who can play right back or left back if I switched Ratana. I send on Pom Vannak to play there and hope for the best. Prek smell blood and start to knock the ball around with confidence. With a makeshift right back, this aint gonna end well..and it doesn’t. Chan Dara hits a screamer from 25 yards into the bottom corner to make it 1-1. I go to a 4-2-4, with Nhem and Pidor as wingers with sub Noron and Taboula up front. We press forward but everything is blocked. We can’t create a chance. I go all out attacking but this leaves more gaps for the visitors to exploit. Chhin Meang Sang picks up the ball and runs forward before releasing another thunderbolt past Som How are we 2-1 down? What is going on? Mat Noron is angry. He bombs down the right before providing a peach of a cross for Taboula but his effort is clawed away by the keeper. This was not in the script! They then re-park the bus in front of our goal and are equal to everything we throw at them. We’ve been had here. Firstly our two right backs getting injured one after the other, forcing me to use all three subs which prevented me from throwing on an attacking option when we needed it near the end. Secondly we have lost from two long range efforts from a team who barely ventured into our half. Well and truly FMed here and what an opportunity wasted to take top spot. The Almighty Buddha was not smiling on us today!

Final Score EDC 1-2 Prek Pra

Ratana 38 (pen)   Chea Dara 64

                               Chhin Meang Sang 84

Match 19: Khemera v EDC 11/08/24

We need to get back to winning ways in order to keep the pressure on Angkor Tiger at the top of the table. This won’t be easy because despite our rather comfortable win over Khemera earlier in the season, this is still a team that can cause us problems. They are well organised, adopting a 3-5-2 formation and have former EDC man, Leap Bo in the fulcrum of their midfield. Therefore I go in with a 4-3-3 to both match their numbers in midfield and also occupy their three central defenders. Sin Kakada comes back in after suspension, otherwise I keep the same team which lost to Prek Pra.

Team: Som, Pisa, Daravon, Gbayoro, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Taboula, Abdi, Nhem 

Match Action

We start positively a long range free kick into the area results in a powerful header tipped over the bar from Gbayoro. Khemera attack us though with numbers and all three midfielders charge forward. The ball is spread to wing back Hong Makara who fires it past Som at his near post. Oh fiddlesticks! We respond well, creating several chances, but not converting. Abdi finds the side netting when he should have done better. They look dangerous on the counter attack. Som has to tip over a stunning long range effort. Pidor curls a wonderful shot just over, We are doing anything but score. Then an old foe rears his big, ugly head. Miroslav Klose. No we haven’t heard from this for a while but Khemera somehow find a way to re-activate this annoyance. You know the score, big hoof downfield striker runs clear. This time he even had the temerity to square it to his mate, Ung Dara who tapped into an empty goal. I hate this stupid game!!!!

We respond well again and a flowing move results in Abdi heading just over. We deserve better than to be 2-0 down. This is a farce of a game.

I revert to 4-4-2 and bring on Graca and take off the hapless Abdi. I also introduce Matty Noron for the out of sorts Taboula. We start to assert dominance again. From a free-kick Daravon has a header brilliantly saved. The resulting corner is cleared but is picked up by Pidor who runs forward and lays off to Kakada, who passes back to Ratana in the left wing back position. He floats a perfect cross in to the sub Noron who beats the onrushing keeper to the ball to squeeze it past him and halve the deficit. Come ON! After a couple of Khemera attacks we attack again. Gbayoro has another header well saved from another pinpoint Pidor free kick. Then Graca messes up a diving header at the far post, Noron then messes up a header from 4 yards after a lucky rickashay and then Pidor has another free kick saved. We deserve something out of the this flipping game FM Gods can you hear me??? We’ve been well and truly FM-ed again here. 18 shots to 6.. Unbelievable! I cannot fault the players here.. Unfortuately with Angkor Tiger’s 1-0 win over the National Police they go five points clear at the top. It’s not over yet, but you have to now make the beer company favourites to win their second title in three years. 

Final Score Khemera 2-1 EDC

                                Makara 2                       Noron 59

                                Dara 42

League Table

Angkor Tiger 42

EDC 37

Phnom Penh Crown 34

Nagaworld 33

Boeung Ket 29

National Defence 28

Khemera 26

National Police 20

Chhlam Samuth 20

Prek Pra 17

Build Bright United 12

-----------------------------------------------

Svay Rieng 11

Chmao Khmao 11

Wat Phnom 5

While there was much frustration around the club at their two recent defeats, the pressure seemed to have got too much for my £1000 man, Aderito Graca. The seventeen year old from the Cape Verde Islands has been used sparingly by me as an impact sub in order to help him settle into the club, a brand new country and to relieve a bit of the expectation placed on him by the £1000 price tag. 

It was Nen Borey who first alerted me to the situation with Aderito Graca. The boy never seemed to smile, he could only speak Portugese and very basic English, which meant that nobody really understood him, nor could he join in with the team banter. He cut a lonely figure at the club and barely said a word to anyone. 

I tried to get some of my senior pros, Daravon and captain, Chea Samnang to try and integrate him, take him out to dinner and try to get to know him, but it was no use. His performances, mainly from the bench had been OK and had showed one or two flashes of his undoubted ability. Graca was a good trainer and had even adapted his game to play in a central AMC role so he could fit into my new 4-3-3 formation.

However, one day at training he had failed to grasp one of the tasks set out by my coaches and the boy broke down in tears. In broken English he managed to tell us how unhappy he was, how he missed his homeland, especially his family, friends and the beaches back home. He was desperate to go back to the Cape Verde Islands as soon as possible and play football for his home club, Mindelese.

I had to feel sorry for the lad. He was thousands of miles away from home, in a strange country where he did not speak the language, or praise Buddha, or be able to go to the beach of which he had grown up with. From a footballing perspective we were still in the hunt for our first league title and I did not want this situation to cause a distraction in the camp. 

After discussion with Nen Borey, my coaching team and the boy himself it was concluded that the best thing for all parties was for him to re-join his former club, Mindelese in the Cape Verde Islands at the earliest possible opportunity. The contact between the two clubs was swift and the sale was agreed. I did not charge them a fee, much to the annoyance of my chairman, but a player's welfare to me is of paramount importance. In this case, money did not matter. Unfortunately for Graca he could only go at the end of the Cambodian season at the start of the transfer window and so the thousand pound man spent the rest of his days in my reserves, counting the days until he could return home...

Match 20: EDC v Nagaworld

Just when I wanted a nice easy home game to get us back to winning ways, we have a visit from our fierce rivals. The casino are lurking in 4th place, just four points behind us. Angkor Tiger are five points ahead of us, so it is important we win to keep chasing the tiger’s tail and effectively end Nagaworld’s faint title hopes. I ring a few changes and go to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Injuries, suspensions and loan rules mean a makeshift back four will be in operation, while Taboula ploughs a lone furrow up front with Pidor and Nhem snaking in off the flanks to join him. Pheara makes a start in the AMC role.

Team: Som, In Sambath, Makara, Gbayoro, Joly, Kakada, Samnang, Pheara, Nhem, Taboula, Pidor

 

Match Action

Nagaworld have the better of things and nearly take the lead when Sokhamrin is sent clear after a hoofed clearance and smacks the post. The same player also forces a good save from Som. I don;t know who this guy is but he is causing all sorts of trouble in our defence. We have a couple of decent attacks but little to show for it. Then the inevitable happens. We have a free kick which is cleared and Soka whathisface, who sprints through an empty half of the pitch and slots past Som at his near post. I change to a 4-3-3 in response with Pheara, Taboula and Nhem forming a three pronged attack with Pidor just behind in the number 10 role. We look more of a threat and one move results in a Pheara effort brilliantly tipped over the bar. We are starting to tick again and it is now us who look the most dangerous team. Taboula sends Nhem clear with a brilliant slide rule pass, but once again their keeper is equal to his attempt on goal. Nagaworld though are cunning. A long goal kick and the danger man Sovakharmain flicks the ball round the corner for my old friend Math Fasal into the box. Makara lunges at him.. Penalty. Sun Dara fires it confidently into the corner, sending Som the wrong way... We just can’t do anything right at the moment.. 2-0 at the break.

It’s rare that I shout at my team, but this was one occasion I just could not hold it in. I am so annoyed with them right now They go out for the second half with a flea in their ear. I hope it motivates them. Unfortunately by the way we have started the half, it seems not as Nagaworld sweep forward with confidence. Sovakhamrin has an effort just wide, while Man Ratana waltzes his way into the box and forces a fingertip save from Som. I demand more. Captain, Chea Samnang listens and puts in a fierce tackle much to the delight of the home fans. He then plays a perfectly weighted ball to the onrushing Taboula who rounds the keeper and slots home into the empty net for 2-1. Then Nhem flicks on to substitute Noron who fires menacingly just over the bar. Game on! We push for an equaliser. Graca comes on for the ineffective Pidor, but Nagaworld are equal to everything we throw at them. Then, the sucker punch. Yamin and Ratana who have tormented us all afternoon combine to send Cheng Meng clear in the box and he squeezes a shot through Som at the near post to secure victory. A disappointing defeat and our third in a row. Whatsmore, Angkor Tiger overcame a plucky Build Bright United 3-2 to go eight points clear at the top.. . Our title ambitions are fading fast....

Final Score EDC 1-3 Nagaworld

Taboula   66              Sovunkharmin 17

                                     Sun Dara 45 (pen)

                                          Som o.g 90

 

Match 21 National Defence v EDC

Simply put, we need to get back to winning ways and fast, starting with this trip the National Defence, who are in a comfortable 6th place. I am making changes to the XI and reverting back to a 4-4-2 with old favourite Tuy Oudom returning to the side on the right wing. Makara steps in at the back for the suspended Gbayoro, while Pisa and Ratana return in the full back positions. The Cambodian army boast Lim Chanroeurn up front who has scored 14 goals already this season and will need to be watched.

Team: 4-4-2 Som, Pisa, Daravon, Makara, Ratana, Kakada, Samnang, Oudom, Nhem, Taboula, Pidor

Match Action

We start the game well, look after the ball and pass from side to side where Pidor and Oudom already look a threat. The former goes on a lung bursting run through the middle of the park, skipping past two defenders, before sliding a delicious ball through to Nhem, whose rasping shot is clawed away by the keeper. The Defence start to knock the ball around with confidence and dangerman Lim Chamroeurn heads over from former EDC loanee, Ivonaldo’s cross. Then from nowhere, a corner and Makara fouls in the box, Penalty. Just how our luck is going at the moment. Chanroeurn fires it home. 1-0 to National Defence.

We respond well. Taboula has a fierce shot tipped over after the ball fell to him in the penalty area and Samnang has a low shot well saved. Ratana plays a ball into the box but their goalkeeper, former EDC man, Um Channou (remember him) makes a ridiculous point blank save. 1-0 to them at the break.

We revert to a 4-3-3 with Noron coming on for Oudom. I demand more and they respond. A wonderful move, one that Barcelona under Pep Guardiola would have been proud of results in our old friend Channou making another ridiculous point blank save from Pidor with the goal at his mercy. Yet again it is not our day. Then Nhem shoots from the right edge of the penalty box and Channou once again finds his inner Gordon Banks and tips it over. This is getting stupid now. It’s going to take something special to win now. Sim Kakada has the ball in the centre of midfield and lays it off to Um Makara who plays a hopeful ball towards sub Mat Noron. Both he and the defender miss the ball which allows young Nhem to run onto it and lash home a much deserved equaliser. 1-1. Then we just cannot get the ball as the Defence respond. The ball is swept wide left to Nen Soreath who is unmarked and has all the time in the world to pick out Lim Chamroeurn who beats Som with a bullet header. It really is not our day, week, month or year at the moment. Ivonaldo rubs our noses in it by rising highest to nod home a third from a corner. Title hopes gone. We have completely forgotten how to win football matches..

It's all gone Pete Tong again for our friends Electric. This time there will be no Keegan-style rants, but just sheer frustration at the way we have capitulated to four straight defeats against opponents, except for Nagaworld which they really should be beating if they are serious about winning the C-League. Can EDC turn things around in the last seven games of the season, or is it too late to catch the tiger? Find out next time on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

54. Trying to Bridge The Gap

 

Four straight defeats have derailed our title bid and I am livid! We lost to lowly Prek Pra for god's sake, Nagaworld and Khemera I can understand more and National Defence have been this season's surprise packages, but still we should have beaten them. We have done nothing different from all the games in our long unbeaten run, yet somehow their goalkeepers turned into Peter Shilton, Gianluigi Buffon and Iker Cassilas rolled into one.. Maybe throw a bit of Rene Higuita in there as well, that's how stupid it got.. The FM Gods have been in a bad mood with me for some reason of late and like a husband who suddenly finds himself in the doghouse, is really not sure why?

Our performances have been good, but we have not taken our chances and come across some goalkeepers in suspiciously great form.. The good news is the next team we face are Chhlam Samuth who we have beaten pretty much every time we have played them. Time to get back to winning way and fast, before the Tiger escapes for good.

 

Match 22 – Chhlam Samuth v EDC 31/08/24

Chhlam Samuth are in 9th a few points above the relegation zone. We are now down in 4th, tied on 37 points with 3 other clubs, Nagaworld, Boeung Ket and Phnom Penh Crown, while Angkor Tiger have now opened up an eleven point lead. We are playing for second place now. I will go in with our usual 4-3-3. Gbayoro and Daravon are reunited in central defence, while Joly is preferred to In Sambath at left back, with Ratana switching to right back! Let’s go!

Match Action

We dominate the opening ten, but Taboula keeps getting caught offside and the goalie has yet to make a save. As ever they look dangerous from set plays, but we clear and look good on the break. On 20 minutes Gbayoro plays a direct ball to Matty Noron who chests the ball down, turns and plays in Samnang Nhem all in one swift movement. The youngster doesn’t miss, sliding confidently home to break the deadlock. 1-0. Then our old friend, Keo Udom who is playing as a right winger these days, shows Joly a clean pair of heels and is brought down in the box. Penalty! Sos Sambo finds the corner one each. Then the game becomes a slugfest with not much happening. One breakaway leads to Nhem sprinting down the right flank before crossing to volley against a defender and then Pidor following in forcing a fine save from the keeper. Samuth respond and force a fine save from Som after good work from their left winger Matnornin. A free header from the resulting corner also lands gratefully in the arms of Som. On the stroke of half time a great interception from Joly results in him floating the ball up to Noron who once more intelligently flicks the ball on for the galloping Taboula. The Nigerian has the ball, two on one with Nhem screaming for the ball to his right. Pelap has other ideas though and blasts the ball goalwards from the edge of the area, straight into the top corner. Pick that one out! Great goal. Nhem would never have spoken to his friend again had that missed. 2-1. Into the second half and we create our own Miroslav Klose style goal ourselves. Som plays the perfect 80 yard goal kick straight to the impressive Taboula who spreads the ball right to Nhem who sprints into the box and fires low past Chainuth in goal. 3-1. We assert control of the game and add a beautifully crafted fourth goal. Samnang finds Ratana up from right back and he curls in a lovely near post cross for Mat Noron to head home into the top corner. Ratana turned provider again as another near post cross was this time flicked on by the impressive Noron for Taboula to volley confidently home for out fifth. Back to winning ways again. Sary Chainuth, who has been one of their better players, fires home a consolation after slack marking form us. 5-2. There was still time for one more though. Nhem on the break who has frightened the life out of Samuth all afternoon crosses to the far post where Taboula controls, sprints past his defender and blasts the ball home for a brilliant hat trick. 6-2 the final score. Our front three of Taboula, Noron and Nhem were simply outstanding. Great to get back to winning ways in style!

Final Score: Chllam Samuth 2-6 EDC

Sambo 25 (pen)                        Nhem 21,48

Chainuth 73                               Taboula      

.                                                      45,72,88

 

                                                     Noron 67

Match 23 EDC v Phnom Penh Crown 14/09/24

There is only six games left and we are eleven points behind Angkor Tiger with eighteen to play for. Therefore there is no margin for error. I make one change and that is Abdi for Noron. Abdi has trained very well and is also ‘on his promise’ for more starts. This has given me a huge headache because Noron played so well against Chllam Samuth and I can’t drop Taboula or Nhem.. The Champions are in 5th on goal difference and are one of four teams including us on 40 points in the chasing pack. Sin Kakada also returns to DMC to replace Makara who is suspended.

Som, Ratana, Daravon, Gbayoro, Joly, Kakada, Samnang, Pidor, Nhem, Abdi, Taboula

Match Action

We can’t get the ball off Crown in the opening exchanges. Then we are lifted by Pelap Taboula picking up the ball and running and running with it to force a corner. Daravon heads just over. Young Nhem falls awkwardly and has to be taken off the field to be replaced by Noron. We win a free kick, which Pidor lofts straight into the keeper’s arms. He hoofs the ball out for Khek Tola to run onto in acres of space. He makes no mistake 1-0 against the run of play. Miroslav rears his ugly head once more.

We should have equalised moments later. Brilliant interplay between Abdi, Taboula and Pidor ends up with Noron one on one with the keeper, but he miraculously puts it wide. What a chance! Noron then has another effort tipped wide after good closing down by Abdi to dispossess the defender. Then from the corner, the ball is cleared, only as far as Noron, He lays the ball right to Sim Kakada who crosses low for Taboula to steer home his 15th goal of the season.

We look the most likely to score but don’t carve out a clear chance. Abdi keeps getting caught offside and what’s this.? Kakada has suddenly turned into Bruce Lee and scythed down his opponent. A straight red card for the midfielder. Inevitably Crown dominate and we are clinging on a little. I’ll take the point but it is just now a battle for second place with just five games left.

Final Score: EDC 1-1 Phnom Penh Crown

            Taboula 44                       Tola 34

 Match 23 EDC v Build Bright United

It’s near the end of another season and it’s going to take a miracle to win the title now. Angkor Tiger are going to have to slip up big style and we have to win every single game, just to take it down to a last match showdown. We therefore must beat Build Bright United who are struggling down in 12th place. A few changes, Nhem is still injured so in comes Pheara, Makara fills in for the suspended Daravon, In Sambath comes in at right back and Pom Vannak starts in defensive midfield.

Team: Som, In Sambath, Makara, Gbayoro, Ratana, Vannak, Samnang, Pidor, Pheara, Noron, Taboula

Match Action

Build Bright have the first attack which nearly results in a goal. Som beats away an angled shot from Keo Sokpheng after a well worked free kick. We look sloppy they look up for it. Then, Vannak is allowed to sprint almost unchallenged across the pitch leading him to the bye line where he is finally tackled. From the resulting corner Moun Nara arrives from nowhere to powerfully head home. 1-0 and fully deserved to be honest. I demand more and we assert some dominance. We win a random free kick. Pidor drifts the ball in and Taboula heads into the corner at the far post. One each. We exchange random free kicks but they come to nothing. Then a long clearance finds Pidor who flicks the ball on and causes panic in the Build Bright defence. Their midfielder, Chan Udom tries to play the ball back to the last man, Yaty who miscontrols the ball. Taboula is onto it like a greyhound and sprints clear with the ball with only the keeper to beat... He makes no mistake, confidently lashing the ball home for his second goal. The Nigerian then turned provider when his deep cross was headed into the corner by Chhim Pheara. 3-1. In the second half we look like scoring with every attack. Taboula has a hat trick goal ruled out for offside, while a fierce shot from Pheara was clawed away by the keeper. A long ball over the top though saw Pheara scamper after the ball and score the fourth goal with a fizzing shot under the keeper. Magnificent! 4-1 I give a debut to young attacking midfielder Ung Samnang as he replaces Pidor. A Noron free kick results in a penalty for pushing in the box. Taboula slotted home for a richly deserved hat trick. Sun Vandeth scrambles home a late consolation from a corner. 5-2.  Somehow they get another goal back from another corner. We hang on for a 5-3 win, but I am not happy with conceding two late goals...

EDC 5-3 Build Bright United

Taboula 18,27, 73 (pen)  Nara 11

Pheara 40,59                       Vandeth 84

                                               Soksana 87

A few days after the win against Build Bright United I recieved a knock at the door. It was Ahmed Abdi, the self-styled Somalian Pele. Unfortunately of late, he has not really played like the Brazilian legend and was abject through our four game losing streak. This had, despite my promises led to me dropping him to the bench again and starting with the more reliable Mat Noron. This had insensed him and was soon in my office demanding to know why.

"Boss.. I am the best striker at the club, but you still play Nhem."

"Ahmed.. how many goals have you scored this season?"

"Err 6"

"How many goals has Nhem scored?"

"Err  dunno,"

"14"

"Yes but I could get as many if not more than him, of I was on the pitch!"

"But Ahmed, your performances have been too inconsistent. If we are to catch Angkor Tiger and win the title, I need consistency from all my players and you are just not providing that at the moment. I'm sorry, but you must stay on the bench and come on as an impact sub."

"I want to be transfer listed."

"Ahmed, come on don't be silly."

"I want to leave the club."

"Ahmed your being stupid, you are still very much part of my plans. I think you are a good player, but there are just three better at the moment. Taboula is banging in goals for fun, Noron is providing not only goals but excellent link up play with the other two and Nhem is frightening the life out of defenders in the right hand channel."

"Nah I want to leave. Find me another club." and he stormed out.

So that was that, the end of the Somalian Pele...

At training the next day, Nen Borey came to see me.

"Boss, we need to hold a team meeting."

"Why?"

"The players are unhappy boss."

"What about training, that's nothing new, there's always one or two of them whingeing about training and "voicing concerns" over the quality of the sessions."

"No boss, its not training, its Ahmed, they don't like how you have treated him."

"Oh for god's sake. I've been more than fair to him and explained why he isn't starting every game."

"Yes I know, but he sees it differently." 

"I know he does, but whats that got to do with the other players?

"They think he should play more too."

"What? Instead of Nhem?"

I instructed Nen Borey to gather the players together for a meeting.

"Now lads, I know there's been some s*** going of about Ahmed, but I stand by my decision to keep him on the bench. Pelap, Mat, Samnang, you guys have been brilliant for us this season and are one of the biggest reasons we are near the top of the table. I don't want to interfere with that. Ahmed you are a good player too, but you are going completely the wrong way about cementing a place in the team. One player is not bigger than the team Ok? You are all valued members of EDC and have all been superb this season. Now don't let this spoil things OK. Ahmed. I'll see you after."

The players trudged away and was not really sure whether I had got through to them or not. I sat down with Ahmed.

"Ahmed I've sent some messages out to other clubs and I've received an offer from Mogadishu City to play for them."

"Your sending me back to Somalia?"

"Well, yes."

"Were there any Cambodian clubs interested?"

"Well, Boeung Ket had scouted you, but no official bid was made from them, while Mogadishu did, so I accepted it, you will leave at the end of the season."

"Bbut"

"Ahmed, that's what you wanted, a transfer and I have got you one, at the biggest club in Somalia. Perhaps it will be good for you to go back home for a while. i am sure if you do well, other clubs may become interested. Maybe one day you will get to play with Mo Salah again.."

The Somalian Pele trudged out the room, never to be seen in an EDC shirt again. Naturally we paid for his flight back to his homeland, not before he had seen out his days in my reserve team. So, there ends the tale of the Somalian Pele, who went as quickly as he came....

Board Pleased I Have Achieved Objective

A bit of an odd piece of news emerged that the board are delighted that we have achieved the objective of being “the best of the rest,” one year ahead of schedule. In my book though we currently lie in third on goal difference with Nagaworld and could, if we end the season badly, finish as low as 6th. Anyway pleased board are happy, but think it is a little premature.

International Call Ups

Samnang Nhem, Ajoub Joly and Chhim Pheara have been called up to the U19s squad for the Asian U19s Championships.

 Match 24: Chmao Khmao v EDC

Lowly Chmao Khmao should hopefully prove not to be too much of an obstacle as we seek to finish as high as we possibly can in the table. We are currently 3rd and with Angkor Tiger so far ahead it will become mathematically impossible for us to catch them. All we can do is keep winning. I go in with the trusted 4-3-3. Ratana is suspended so in comes Sambath at left back. Makara is preferred to Sin Kakada in DMC.

Team: Som, Pisa,  Daravon, Gbayoro, Sambath, Makara, Samnang, PIdor, Pheara, Noron, Taboula

Match Action

It’s surprisingly even in the opening exchanges, but we probably look the most likely but without creating much. That changes though when Taboula latches onto a ball in the left channel. His cross is met by the head of Pheara which is saved by the keeper, but only into the path of Noron who buries the rebound. Chmao are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table and are not going to give this up very easily. Chan Piseth burst down the right and delivered the perfect low cross for Mao Piseth to sweep home. 1-1.The hosts are now the better team and dominate proceedings. Our defence just about holds firm and manages to break away in clinical fashion. Pisa clears the ball up to Matt Noron. He intelligently turns and plays a perfectly weighted through ball for Chhim Pheara to latch onto. The youngster makes no mistake, dribbling the ball into the area, before slotting the ball cooly under the keeper into the bottom corner. Perfection! We take control and look a class above our opponents, knocking the ball around at will to create an opening. Pisa, Samnang, to Pidor, up to Matty Noron, who turns it round the corner for Pheara!!! He lashes the ball into the top corner and the back of the net nearly breaks. 3-1!

We are looking irresistible now. Pheara this time turns provider and plays in Noron, whose fierce shot is brilliantly saved, only for Pelap Taboula to follow up the loose ball and tap home an easy fourth goal.

Our opponents have still not given up though.. In the opening moments of the second half they hit the post and have a goal disallowed. No matter. We go up the other end and score again when In Sambath crosses and Mat Noron rises highest to power home a 5th. They then go up the other end and score again though when Piseth is unmarked on the left and he squares it for the equally lonely Touch Dara who lashes petulantly home for 5-2.

Chmao have a never say die attitude though and they manage to scramble home a third goal. We have become a sloppy complacent mess and I tell them so. We end up having to timewaste and go to a defensive mentality and even then, Som was called into action twice to deny the hosts a sensational comeback. Another three points though just about..

Final Score: Chmao Khmao 3-5 EDC

 M Piseth 18                                Noron 14, 49

Touch Dara 58                            Pheara 30,37

C. Piseth 78                                 Taboula 42

League Table with 3 games left

 

1st Angkor Tiger 54

2nd Nagaworld 50

3rd EDC 47

4th Phnom Penh Crown 45

5th Boeung Ket 43

6th National Defence 43

7th National Police 29

8th Khemera 26

9th Chhlam Samuth 25

10th Prek Pra 23

11th Build Bright United 17

-----------------------------------------

12th Svay Rieng 16

13th Chmao Khmao 12

14th Wat Phnom 11

Graca re-joins Mindelese

Aderito Graca’s short stay in Cambodia is at an end as he boarded the plane back to his homeland, The Cape Verde Islands. I wish him well, he was a good kid, a promising footballer, but unfortunately was cursed with a huge bout of homesickness. A player’s happiness though is paramount and so we allowed the thousand pound man to go back home. All the best son!

Boeung Ket do us a favour

Boeung Ket beat Angkor Tiger 3-1 meaning they are just for points clear of Nagaworld and seven ahead of us with three games left. Remember we also host the league leaders on the final day of the season. Mathmatically we can still do this and the pressure is all on the beer company.. 

Find out whether EDC can do the impossible and win their next two games, hope Angkor Tiger drops more points and take it down to the last game of the season to decide who will win the 2024 C-League Title! 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jon1982
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