Far East Bangkok Tournament
Just like so many previous years the Wanderers decided to participate in the Far East
Football Tournament in Bangkok on 7 and 8 of April 2007. In the beginning many
players expressed their intention to participate, though when your truly was overseeing
his soldiers on Saturday morning 7th of April, he only discovered just 11 valuable players.
Because of all kind of different reasons several players were not able to make the trip at
the very last moment. Even we had to leave Lee back in the hotel, as she was sick the
whole Friday-night. It was therefore not a huge puzzle to set up the starting line-up for
the first game against the Peking Strollers.
The hopeful Bayon team on Saturday
The draw looked this year in favor of the Bayon players, as they were due their first
match at 12 o'clock noon instead of our quot;normalquot; time of 8 or 9 am. Also the opponents
were supposed not that strong. The result in the first match however showed that the
Bayon team was still asleep. We were not sharp at all from the start of the game, though
Chhay created two beautiful chances in a row in the first five minutes with some
individual actions. This was immediately punished by the centre defender of the Strollers,
as he intimidated Chhay with his third ball contact by pushing Chhay violently in the
back and from that moment we have hardly seen Chhay during the games either on
Saturday or Sunday. With only Elisa and an invisible Chhay as attackers, we lacked the
power and speed to go forwards. Jesse and Lilo tried in vain to step in to the attack with
the consequences that the Strollers with every attack could find a free player in midfield.
It was half way the first half that a cross from our right side, Marcos was not yet top at
that time, finally ended in the feet of the right Stroller-midfielder who was allowed to run
free without any intervention from Jesse (who started on the left midfield position), and
he showed no mercy for Laurent by scoring the opening goal of the match. In reaction
Lilo cut through the midfield and defense of the Strollers, though he was pushed to the
left side of the goal and only managed to kick the ball wide. The break came with 1-0 on
Chhay asking quot;where am I?quot;
Your truly tried to change the tide by asking Lilo and Jesse not to attack too much and if
they did, come back to help in midfield and defense. The second half didn't start too bad,
though at a goal kick Laurent made a mistake by kicking the ball straight in the feet of
one of the Stroller attackers, who accepted this present with both feet to score the 2-0. If
it wasn't enough, the Strollers cut through midfield in a nice one-two and out sprinted
both Stuart and your truly for the 3-0. What a disastrous start to this tournament!! Never
had I experienced this kind of start in the Bangkok Tournament.
The second match was scheduled for 2 pm. against the London Pink Panthers. After a
thoroughly warm-up, the Bayon players showed a different face during the match. There
was more discipline from Lilo and Jesse, as they kept their position occupied and were
passing the ball neatly around in midfield. Then half way the first half, disaster hit again.
An innocent collision between Laurent and Govert left Govert screaming from pain in the
goal, while raising his left leg holding on his calf. All Bayon players shouted to the
Panthers players to kick the ball out, though instead the Panthers brought the ball back
from the corner flag into the 18-yards box and without any strong resistance could score
for 1-0. At least that provided First Aid to attend Govert, who was transported to the
hospital. We only saw him back on Sunday morning, walking into the hotel on crutches
with his left leg in a cast to wish us success for that day.
Sonya and Govert wishing the team success on Sunday
He had torn his ligaments. It is all part of the game. quot;Lucky Govertquot; could now spend the
Sunday with his favorite hobby, shopping. Loosing Govert cut the number of players to
ten, though fortunately the Reunited Vietnam Team had many players and good old Gopi
(who played for three years for the Bayon team during the nineties, was allowed to join
the Bayon Wanderers. Once a Wanderer, always a Wanderer!!! Gopi took the left defense
position and Dore moved to the centre defense! Of course the Bayon players were upset
by the unfair attitude of the Panther players and upon hearing them calling to each other
to score now at least three goals, the Bayon players found the motivation to continue the
football they are used to play. Passing the ball around and then moving forwards at the
right moments. I believe it was the best match of the tournament for the Bayon team. The
Panther players were not able to get to the ball and should praise themselves lucky not to
loose. Elisa had the un-grateful task to stay up in front as the deepest attacker and Chhay
was supposed to fall back to pick up the ball or to start sprinting deep if we were in ball
possession. Chhay got again kicked on his legs and was not able to show his talents, so
intimidated he was. Elisa did what she could, though against these physical strong and
tall London players, it was very difficult to even touch the ball. The score didn't change
anymore and the final whistle sounded with the 1-0 on the sheets.
Gopi and Laurent getting ready for the third match
Two defeats in a row and one group-game to go on Saturday. It was difficult to re-group
the players and get the fighting spirit in the team. The next match would bring us the
Reunited Vietnam Team as the opponents. From Gopi we learned that it was a very
organized team and they showed this to us during the game. With nice passing football
and physical fitness they kept possession of the ball. During the first half they managed to
score the first for 1-0, followed by a second one in the beginning of the second half.
Though finally the Bayon team managed to get on the score sheet after hitting the cross
bar two or three times in a row during the same situation. I believed it was first Jesse,
then Chhay and third Elisa who each kicked the ball against the bar and finally it was
Lilo who put the ball into the net. The first day of the tournament ended as it started with
a defeat, 2-1. Que sera, sera………..
Sunday would start 9 am. for the fourth group match of the Bayon team, though it was
already certain that we would finish last in the group, as the result in the other matches
Bayon players dressing up Sunday morning when nobody else is there
The Singapore Latino's Team was the opponent and they had won all their previous
matches the day before. Their fourth match was just the same against the Bayon Team.
This day however, we were able to have one substitute because Lee was that much
recovered from a whole day sleeping that she could take up the right defense position.
This meant that Marcos could move to an unfamiliar position for him, the sweeper
position and he didn't perform badly at all. Your truly took this game as an opportunity to
observe more and to coach better. It didn't work out that much better with the coach on
the sideline, as the first half was enough for the Latino's to score two times. The Bayon
players didn't play that bad and were never outplayed. It is just that physical strength that
is missing. The match ended in a 2-0 score for the Latino's.
The total lack of winning a game during the group stage condemned the Bayon
Wanderers to play for the Bowl competition. Our first match was against Hollandaise
Singapore, a team we met on several occasions during several tournaments, though never
played. It would be a real challenge to beat them.
Team captains agreed on the outcome of the game before it started
If the Bayon really wanted to return to Phnom Penh, then this was an opportunity.
Playing in the Bowl is not that bad if you can achieve first place. You are going home
with a nice Bowl. The match kicked off at 11 am. and the Bayon players were all over
their opponents. Jesse started well this game and after a nice pass from Marcos, he could
sprint along the line, cut inside to pass the ball to Chhay, who was left completely free
and it was not that difficult to score the first goal of this game, 1-0. Jesse was now
released from what-ever lashes and relentless he went along the left side providing Elisa
two beautiful chances. However, Elisa managed to miss on both occasions. Then it was
the turn to Lilo. Breaking through on a nice pass from Francois, he scored the second
goal for the Bayon team. However, the Hollandaise tried their best to find the goal and
Laurent had to do an appeal on all his talents to keep the zero in the first half.
Laurent jumps enormously high for the ball, while everybody watch in amazement
The second half was an image of the first, though it was difficult to come out of defense,
as the wind was assisting the Hollandaise to build up the pressure. Once out under this
pressure, there were still nice opportunities for the Bayon team, though our players were
not able to convert these opportunities into goals. It was on the contrary the Hollandaise
which was rewarded for their pressure. The centre attacker rounded your truly too easy to
score for 2-1. It didn't go any further fortunately for the Bayon team, even the pressure
became sometimes tremendously.
Corner for Hollandaise
The victory meant that we had to play two matches more: the semi-final and then maybe
the final or the match for 3rd or 4th place. The opponent waiting for us in the semi-final
was the Hong Kong Spartans team.
On the way to the semi-final we lost Gopi, as I already suspected it on Saturday. He has a
bad knee and after every game he had to nurse his knee. During the Hollandaise match he
needed substitution with a swollen knee. Again the coach only had eleven players to
choose from, which made it easy for him. The Spartans don't deserve to be in the Bowl
competition, as it is a strong team. Physical fit and with tall players who have the
experience, it would be difficult for the eleven Bayon warriors.
Kick off was at 1 pm. and the match went ahead as planned. Play went from one side to
the other and though the Bayon attackers were never dangerous, the team as a whole was
never outplayed. For a long period the Bayon team was able to keep the zero, though
finally had to surrender and the result was 1-0 for the Spartans.
Picture during the semi-final
Semi-final lost, though still the honor is in play. The Khana O'Malley's team from Phuket
was waiting to win third place. Everybody was tired and the heat was swallowing every
bit of energy left in these tired, sweating bodies. The Bayon warriors didn't give in and it
was Chhay on a deep pass from Lilo who managed to score the first goal of the match.
Khana didn't wait too long to score the equalizer in the second half and the Bayon team
was hanging on. Trying with fast breaks to score the winning goal Bayon players gave
everything they had, though without success. The match ended in a draw 1-1. The draw
meant of course a penalty shoot-out to find out who would finish third in the Bowl
competition. On Tuesday all Bangkok players had to take five penalties as practice and
this paid off. Dore, Francois, Stuart, Jesse, Billy and Lilo didn't miss (sometimes not
without fortune) and the Bayon Wanderers conquered third place in the Bowl
competition. With a nice cup and a match ball the Bayon players could go home.
Elisa with cup and team photo Laurent and Lilo with cup
As usual I like to mention some other facts. The journey by road to Bangkok was a very
long one. Leaving Phnom Penh around 6.30 am. and arriving finally in Bangkok around
10 pm. while not yet at the hotel is exhausting. Also the trip back to Phnom Penh took
twelve hours, leaving Bangkok at 3 am. and arriving in Phnom Penh around 3 pm. For
the last part from the border to Phnom Penh sitting with six players and the driver in a
Camry is not advisable. What can you do otherwise, when the ticket seller at the bus
station refuse to sell tickets to you? However, as long as the smile is there, we can
survive! It is ultimately an adventure!! Look just at these pictures.
Elisa getting in the bus during a stop
Lilo and Jesse during a stop Chhay and Billy during the stop
The hotel is not that bad and getting some discount was a friendly gesture from the hotel
owners. Breakfast was simple, though it filled at least the stomachs.
I like to add some judgments about the performance of the players. I will give them a
figure from 0 to 10. As a coach I am entitled to do so. So, let's started with it.
Laurent as our goalie was playing on his normal level, like we all know him to do. He
made a small mistake now and then and indeed the goal kick in the third match shouldn't
have been taken by him, as we know that he is not that well in kicking the ball far away.
Laurent had some good saves, even to his left weak side. Overall performance would be
for me a 7.
Laurent with the cup in his hand
Marcos started on Saturday on the right defense position and moved for one match to the
sweeper position, and then again later he went to the left defense position. In that sense
he was multi-functional. Marcos started weak during the first match, as he was
recovering from the jetlag most probably. He improved during the day and was back on
his normal level in the other games. As a sweeper he performed reasonable and as a left
defender he did his best and was often the starting point of several attacks. Sometimes he
went too far in front, though at certain moments this is necessary to give support to
midfield and attack. However, it is also needed that you back in position when the
opponents are attacking. This didn't happen now and then. Overall performance 7.
Marcos in action
Dore started as the left defender, though moved to the centre defender after Govert's
injury. As usual he did well. Only his position play should improve, as well his ability to
read the game. The first goal in the first match was typically such situation, that when
you read the match well, he would have intercepted the cross. As stopper he was
outstanding during most of the games. He also gave stimulation to attacks and was
valuable for the defensive midfielder. Overall performance 8.
Dore takes a nap on Sunday
Govert had only one match and part of one half to judge. So, it is very difficult to tell
something about his performance. However, from the minutes he played, I got the
impression that he was not that match fit. Govert didn't play too many matches in the
recent past, as he was often abroad during the weekends. He suffered from flu too and
sometimes he was too eager to do too much. No figure could be given.
When Govert was still there
Lee played right defense on Sunday and was not too bad. She played with the hand-break
on, as she is just returning from a sprain ankle. During the first game on Sunday she
should have headed the ball away instead to let it bounce, which could have prevented the
Latino's to score. However, her total performance was okay. She only has to learn NOT
to walk away with her back to the ball. Too often Lee is doing some good work and then
she stops playing or involving her immediately further in the play. Her performance I
would figure on 6.5.
Lee in action
Gopi was very valuable for the team, as he was that extra player we needed during the
first day after Govert was carried off. He did well at the left defense position and he
showed that he is still reading the game, even with the limitations of his bad knee.
However, he is not that fast anymore and it was a long time ago since he played for the
Bayon team. He is not used to the way we are playing now, although his collaboration
with Francois and Jesse was by moments excellent. For the games he played I would
quote him a 7.
Lee and Gopi getting ready for the next match
Stuart as the most defensive midfielder showed his normal level during the whole
tournament. Reading the game well and then acting is still a problem, though he is
showing some improvements. He would do much better if Stuart was holding position at
certain situations. It is also clear when observing him, that his knees are limiting his
acceleration abilities. With the third goal during in the first match he was out sprinted by
his opponent during the one-two, just because Stuart is not able to accelerate. His best
game was against the Hong Kong Spartans on Sunday. During that game he was
outstanding. Based on all games I would quote his performance 7.5.
Stuart trying to pass the ball to Chhay
Lilo played first right midfield and some games as attacker. Lilo needs to be physical fit
if he really wants to have an impact in the game and this weekend he was not that fit,
after a long stay back in France. Lilo is a physical strong player and can dribble with the
ball or hold it. During the tournament he showed furthermore that he is more an attacker
than a midfielder. This broke us up as he was not able to come back to in time to assist
Stuart in midfield and the defense. If he is fit though, he would be a formidable force for
the team. Overall performance 6.5.
Lilo in action against Hollandaise Singapore
Jesse played the whole tournament on the left midfield position. Though he believes that
this is his favorite position, as a coach I only can say that he is more efficient on the right
side. Jesse played sometimes too much for himself and should understand that football is
a team game. Also reading the game is a problem for him if he only storms forwards
without an eye for other team mates. With his physical fitness he should be able to go
forwards to then to be back in time to assist midfield and defense. Too often he allowed
his direct opponent the freedom to run forwards without any interference from Jesse. It is
like he is dreaming on the field. The first goal during the first match on Sunday he was
also walking with his back to the ball, when the free kick was taken, surprising him
completely. The free kick went in. I would rate his performance 6.
Showing off during the match would be better
Francois was the most attacking midfielder and he was also recovering from sickness he
suffered a couple of weeks ago. There were moments during the matches that he was
more a spectator as an active player. He tried many times to show himself for a
combination or went into a combination, expecting the ball back, though for nothing.
Also Francois was sometimes surprised by the aggressive sliding-tackles on his legs and
stopped playing waiting for the whistle, which didn't come. I am convinced that with his
qualities, he can show more than he did. Overall performance 7.
Francois in action against Hollandaise
Elisa was the deepest attacker and this was a very difficult position for her. She gave her
best for the team, though I have to admit that she cannot challenge the tall defenders, who
without mercy used their physical strength to overpower Elisa. Elisa had two beautiful
chances, though both were for her right foot and that right leg is only for standing on. Her
input into the team and sacrificing attitude was enough to reward her with the quot;Most
Valuable Playerquot; award, as she received most of the votes of the Bayon players. Well
done, Elisa and we hope that you will return to Cambodia to join the Wanderers again!
Elisa with the ball
Chhay completed the attacking force of the Bayon team. He is only 17 years old and this
was his first experience in such setting. This was clearly visible during the weekend. In
the first match he created two nice chances though once the opponent-defense was
warned, they took measurements and intimidated him with some nasty challenges. This
was too much for Chhay and he hided himself more than he showed his capabilities. He
was not himself anymore and even the simplest pass over three to five meters went
wrong. Chhay no doubt has certain qualities, though he should become stronger,
physically and for sure mentally, and not act anymore like a pussy. I hope that he has
learned from this tournament and stop complaining that his opponents were that tall and
merciless. Based on the qualities he has, I rate his performance 4.
Chhay intimidated try to find a whole in the grass
Your truly played almost all the games, like all other players and it was clear that he was
playing with the hand break on, being careful for his broken ribs, which are still hurting
him. Defensive he was not that bad, though he was guilty on the goal Hollandaise scored.
Attacking-wise he didn't contribute that much or better said nothing like he is used to do
in Bangkok. His position play saved him from real embarrassment being the oldest player
in the team. Overall performance would be rated on 5.5.
Your truly with his eternal cigarette
Last remark: it was very regretful that only 12 players could make the trip, while in the
beginning so many players were intending to play in Bangkok. If everybody would have
shown up, the result would have been different.
It is also very clear that although the quality of the play is not improving, the physical
fitness of the other teams is raising over the years. It is much harder to develop the
passing game, as other teams will try to prevent this kind of play with hard tackles and
even mean play. I am still convinced that we would be able to win this tournament if the
right players would participate and if we are well prepared to the physical challenges,
which we hardly meet in Cambodia. I am looking forwards to that moment of holding the