Phnom Penh Crown FC
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|Full name||Phnom Penh Crown Football Club|
|Website||Club home page|
Phnom Penh Crown FC (Khmer: ក្លឹបបាល់ទាត់ភ្នំពេញក្រោន), is a football club from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Formerly the team was called Samart United, Hello United, Phnom Penh United and Phnom Penh Empire before taking their current name, Phnom Penh Crown FC in 2009. The club has won many trophies in Cambodian Football including a record 5 Cambodian League titles (2002, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014), a record 2 Hun Sen Cups (2008, 2009). The club also become a Runners-Up of Cambodian League (2005, 2006), Hun Sen Cup (2010) and AFC President's Cup Runners-Up in 2011.
The 1950s and 1960s were the glory years of Cambodian football when the country was one of the strongest teams in the region alongside Thailand, Burma and India. However, the civil war in the 1970s ended that and throughout that decade football was the last thing on anyone’s mind. The green shoots of a football renaissance began in the early 1990s with Cambodia represented at the 1995 Southeast Asian Games and the following year they took part in World Cup qualification again.
In 2000 the Cambodian Football Federation got the Cambodian Premier League competition back on its feet and a year later Samart United were born, with sponsorship from Samart Communications, a telecommunications service provider. After undergoing a number of name changes over the past decade, this was the forerunner of the Phnom Penh Crown team you see today. 2002 saw Samart United, led by their player-coach and the country’s most celebrated international striker Hok Sochetra, capture the Cambodian League Championship for the first time in only their second year in existence. As champions they took part in the prestigious Asean Club Championship, losing to the reigning title holders, Petrokimia Putra of Indonesia.
In 2005, after a couple of years of hibernation due to lack of sponsorship, the Premier League began again and Hello United, the new name adopted by Samart, finished the campaign in second place before losing 3-0 to champions Khemara in the play-off final. The club’s top scorer award went to Hok Sochivorn, the younger brother of the player-coach, with 22 goals. At the start of the season, the club took part in the AFC President’s Cup for the first time, losing in the opening round of games despite a 2-1 success over Pakistan champions WAPDA. Another name change, to Phnom Penh United, heralded the 2006 season, in which the club finished in top spot after a shortened regular season, but lost out in the play-off final again to Khemara, narrowly losing 5-4 in front of a crowd of 10,000 at the National Olympic Stadium.
Joining forces with the Khmer Empire team, another new moniker was adopted, Phnom Penh Empire, for the 2007 season, in which the team finished in third place behind the league champions Naga Corp. The following season, 2008, proved to be the club’s most successful ever, with a league and cup double to celebrate, the first by any club. The Premier League Championship was won with a six point gap over runners-up, the National Defense Ministry, and a single goal by Anucha Chuaisri was enough to claim the Samdech Hun Sen Cup, 1-0 against Preah Khan Reach.
A disappointing showing in the 2009 end of season play-offs saw the club, now called Phnom Penh Crown after their sponsors Crown Casino, finish in fourth spot, despite ending the regular season in top spot, six points clear of the rest of the pack. A 1-0 victory in the Samdech Hun Sen Cup Final over Naga Corp, with a goal from Keo Sokngorn, did provide some consolation. In two regional competitions, the AFC President’s Cup and the Singapore Cup, Crown earned themselves many plaudits with their performances. Two defeats and a win over Bhutan’s Yeedzin was not enough to secure passage to the second round of the AFC President’s Cup. A 2-0 win over Young Lions in the Singapore Cup saw them progress through to the quarter-finals before Thailand’s Bangkok Glass knocked them out over two legs.
In 2010, Crown captured the Metfone Cambodia League Premier title for the third time, beating Preah Khan Reach 4-3 in the play-off final, after only managing fourth spot in the regular domestic campaign. They were denied a second league and cup double when they lost 3-2 in the Samdech Hun Sen Cup Final to the National Defense Ministry. Earlier in the season, Etoile ended their Singapore Cup hopes at the first stage. At the season’s end, the successful partnership of manager Makara Be and coach Apisit Im Ampahi left the club to work in Thailand.
2011 saw Croatian coach Bojan Hodak in charge of the team until his move to China midway through the season. His replacement, experienced Englishman David Booth took over and guided the club to their fourth Cambodian League title at the end of the domestic league campaign. The Singapore Armed Forces extinguished their RHB Singapore Cup interest in the 1st round, but a successful qualifying tournament held in Phnom Penh saw Crown progress to the prestigious AFC President’s Cup final stage in Chinese Taipei in September. With victories over Neftchi and Yadanarbon in the group stage, Crown met hosts Taiwan Power Company in the competition final, going down 3-2 in a fiery encounter. In 2011, the club also commenced their residential Academy with 22 young boys under the age of thirteen, selected after trials across the country, with the long-term view of developing youth football in Cambodia. In 2012 the club finished a disappointing fifth in the Metfone C-League championship. They were knocked out of the Hun Sen Cup in the quarter-finals and despite qualifying from the group stages held in Phnom Penh, were soundly beaten in the final stages of the AFC President’s Cup in Tajikistan.
A new coach, Swiss-born Sam Schweingruber, was installed before the start of the 2013 season. In the pre-season Hun Sen Cup, Crown finished in third place after losing to the National Defense Ministry on penalties in the semi-final. In the Metfone C-League they ended the regular season in third place after a run of eight games without defeat but came unstuck against Svay Rieng in the semi-final, losing 4-3 to the eventual champions. The 2014 season began indifferently with a quarter-final exit from the Hun Sen Cup at the hands of BBU. From 1 March the team went on an unbeaten run in the Metfone C-League, with George Bisan finding the net regularly and ending the season on 20 goals and the attacking options ignited with the arrival of Adriano Pellegrino. With two games of the campaign still to play, Crown clinched their 5th Championship with a 1-0 win over NagaCorp, losing just two matches in their league campaign. Goalkeeper Sou Yaty was awarded the Best Goalkeeper accolade.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Phnom Penh Crown Players with Multiple Nationalities
- 2002 (as Samart United), 2008 (as Phnom Penh Empire), 2010, 2011, 2014.
- Hun Sen Cup: 2
- 2008 (as Phnom Penh Empire), 2009.
Performance in AFC competitions
- AFC President's Cup: 4 appearances
Performance in ASEAN Competitions
- ASEAN Club Championship: 1 appearance
- 2003: Group Stage
- Singapore Cup: 6 appearances
Coaches by Years (2009–present)
|Aphisit Im Amphai||2008- 2010||Cambodian League Winner 2008-2009 / Cambodian League Winner 2009-2010|
|Bojan Hodak||2011- 2011|
|David Booth||2011-2012||2011 AFC President's Cup Runners-Up / Cambodian League Winner 2010-2011|
|Sam Schweingruber||2012-Present||Cambodian League Winner 2014|