Crown Academy Embark Upon Asia Champions Journey

Phnom Penh Crown’s under-16 team will travel to China to represent Cambodia as the Asia Champions Trophy gets underway on Saturday.

They will be battling it out against 11 of the best youth sides from across Asia for the title and $100,000 prize money.

Their first game will be played at the 58,000-capacity Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon against Guangdong FA.

The tournament, now in its second year, takes place over a four-month period across 11 stadiums in a home and away format. Crown struggled last year, losing eight games and drawing two.

“We’ve learned from our experiences last year where there were issues of physicality,” said Bouy Dary, Phnom Penh Crown youth academy head coach.

“We encountered problems against some of the better teams when trying to press and forwards getting in behind the defenders. This time we have to change our strategy-playing deeper and trying to keep possession more.”

Other teams taking part include defending champions Chonburi FC from Thailand, AIFF India, Lao Toyota, Burma’s Mandalay United, PFV Vietnam and Timor-Leste’s under-16 national team.

Though he hopes for success in the tournament, Dary said the experience will be the most important factor for the youngsters.

“The winning is not so important, we have to think of the wider development of Cambodia more than score of the game. It will be a great experience for the boys,” he said.

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