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Monday, October 27, 2008

Hard Work Starts Now For Laos And Cambodia

Now that the qualification round is over and where Laos and Cambodia have proven themselves worthy, they have to start looking at upping the ante for the main event of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 in December.

But they will have little time to make drastic improvisation where the focus now must surely be on how to tweak on their overall performance to face up to the big boys in the region.

Following their qualification yesterday Laos, by virtue of being the winner, will be placed in Group B which is based in Bangkok, Thailand.

And apart from having to play against the runners-up of the last championship Thailand, the young Laotian side will also be up against Malaysia and Vietnam.

Cambodia will not have it any easier either where being in Group A meant that they will take on hosts Indonesia in Jakarta and defending champions Singapore and Myanmar.

“I believe that we have the team which can play well together as a unit,” said Veleriy Vdovin, the head coach for Laos.

“Now we have to make sure that they improve on their finishing and shooting as from this qualifiers, we were wasting far too many chances and we cannot afford to do that in the main tournament.”

While Laos struggle with the frontline, it will be defence which will be of concern to Cambodia.

They have given away valuable goals from headers and this is one area which has been a bane for the Cambodians throughout their qualifying campaign.

“Obviously, we could have defended better although on hindsight, I believe that the players we have now are the best set that we have at the moment,” said Prak Sovannara, the head coach for Cambodia.

“We have a month to work with and we hope that we will come up with some refinements.”

Whatever the misgiving at the start of the inception of a qualifying tournament prior to the main event of the AFF championship some years back, this year’s meet has certainly proven all the detractors wrong.

The competition was very close this time round and there were no stragglers where it took the final day of the meet to decide the two winners.

All the teams came very well prepared and the absence of high scores proved that the qualifier is an essential element for the future of the championship.

As far as the organization of the tournament was concerned, Cambodia have proven to be able to hosts major championships under the guidance of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC).

The Local Organising Committee have done a tremendous job in making sure that they meet with all marketing and technical requirements.

Although the one factor is that perhaps they should look into improving the facilities at the National Olympic Stadium.

The matches were well attended with an average of 10,000 fans per match day but it would have been a lot better had it been played at night under the glare of floodlights.
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FTI official says dispute poses long-term risks for Cambodia trade


The Preah Vihear dispute has so far only marginally reduced cross-border trade with Cambodia, but business is likely to deteriorate further in the long run, said Sommart Khunset, deputy secretary-general of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Until now, the appeal of Thai personal-care products in Cambodia meant bilateral trade worth 20 billion baht had not changed due to the dispute, he said.

"Some products such as electronic appliances may see fewer sales in Cambodia since the conflict erupted. Some operators thought it may cause a boycott of Thai products. But I think the level is very minimal and cannot be officially recognised as a boycott of our products," said Mr Sommart.
However, he added that fears of personal safety and difficulty in distributing products had disrupted Thai investment in Cambodia.

For example, Khon Kaen Sugar Industry Plc (KSL), Thailand's fourth-largest sugar producer, has had to postpone the launch of a sugar mill in Koh Kong. This has now been put back to next year due to safety concerns, said Mr Sommart.

He added that delays to investment projects had also put cost pressure on operators.

The FTI reports that most Thai business ventures in Cambodia are in garment manufacturing, shoe-making, tourism and agriculture. Most investors have been attracted by cheap land and abundant cheap labour suited to labour-intensive industries, said Mr Sommart.

FTI labour chief Thaveekij Japurajarernkul - who has been active in Cambodia for over 20 years - said his hotel in Siem Riep, 150 kilometres from the Aranyaprathet border post, had felt the impact from the conflict.

"My hotel occupancy rate has dropped 20-30% as tourists fear for the security of their lives," he said.

Mr Thaveekij said the impact is not yet at a worrying level. But he expressed a fear that unless the Thai government engages in effective negotiations, Thai ventures in Cambodia will be affected more than by previous conflicts.

"I said this because the current dispute is an international matter that looks to be deeper and to affect citizens of both countries psychologically," he said.

Also taking into account the global economic slowdown and domestic political conflict, both Mr Thaveekij and Mr Sommart said the private sector may have to struggle twice as hard to survive.

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‘The Amazing Race’ 13 - Where is Cambodia?

Heaven help our education system. Last night on the fifth leg of this season of “The Amazing Race,” not one but two of the contestants had no idea where Cambodia — the next destination — was. Both Dallas of the mother-son team of Toni and Dallas and Andrew of the Superbad frat brothers team of Andrew and Dan were absolutely clueless that the country was in Asia. I doubt that either had even heard of the country before. Andrew’s excuse to Dan was that he didn’t go to a fancy prep school like his frat brother. Oy vey.

So last evening, the seven remaining teams left the sheep farm at Summerhill, New Zealand, for Siem Reap, Cambodia. But even before they took off from Auckland Airport to Siem Reap, Terence and Sarah ran into trouble with the law when Terence was ticketed for speeding. The couple had a 30-minute delay at the Pit Stop because of the problem with the law. Also while waiting for their tickets to Siem Reap, Kelly and Christy made fun of Dallas, calling him “Teen Wolf” and his mom, Toni, Wolf Mother.

Back to Siem Reap. Once they landed at the airport, the teams had to take a taxi to a roadside pumping station and put 25 gallons of diesel fuel into a truck, which they then took to Siem Reap Harbor.

At the harbor, they took a marked boat to a restaurant where the groups got their Detour-Village Life or Village Work. In Village Life, they had to take their boat and collect three things: a set of a teeth at a dentist’s office, a doll from a seamstress and a basketball at a floating basketball court. Of course, each member of the team had to make a basket. Village Work had the teams getting into waist-high water and finding two fishing traps with fish, carrying them back to the boat and then putting them in a basket in order to get their next clue. Terence and Sarah’s boat was steaming ahead of everyone else on their way to the restaurant only to have it break down before they got to the restaurant. Terence ended up having to help the pilot manually guide the boat in, typically whining all the way.

After the teams completed their tasks, they had to make their way to the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, which is a symbol of Cambodia and the largest religious temple in the world. The massive temple was the location of the Road Block where one member of each team had to find a tiny echo chamber, thump his or her chest in order to hear an echo and then get the next clue to go to the pit stop at Bayon Temple. Most of the teams had a difficult time finding the small room, especially Tina of the estranged couple of Ken and Tina who actually was walking in and out of the room without knowing she was in the chamber. Her tardiness made the couple go from first to fourth at the Pit Stop.

Winning last night’s leg were the brother and sister team of Nick and Starr — they had also won the first lap of the race — and they earned a vacation in St. John courtesy of the omni-present Travelocity.

The long-distance lovers Aja and Ty (pictured), who were the last to leave Summerhill, never caught up with the rest of the teams last night. Though the week before they were having issues with each other, the two seemed like they had reconciled their differences and played the race with gusto and determination.

Aja Benton, a makeup artist and actress in Los Angeles, and Ty White, who was based in Detroit, are now living together in L.A. since the end of the race. Ty works in payroll at a school district.
The hardest thing for Ty on the race was the long waiting in airports. “You can’t really prepare for waiting in airports and sleeping on the airport floor for 10 or 12 hours that never get shown in the show because it would get truly boring and get terrible ratings. ”

“What was surprising for me was how truly confusing the whole thing is,” says Aja. “You watch it on TV and it seems so simple. You open the clue, you read the clue, you go to the place. But it really is confusing. You read the clue and it seems practical — you go to a plaza where the next clue awaits but you go to the plaza and look for the clue box and you overlook it and get confused.”

Aja says they are “preparing” for eventual engagement and marriage. “We have discussed it,” she says. “But we are taking things one step at a time.”

— Susan King, Los Angeles Times staff writer
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Cambodian, Thai Leaders Seek Peaceful Solution to Temple Dispute

By Rory Byrne, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over an ancient temple complex continues to challenge both countries. Cambodia says Thai troops damaged an ancient temple during a recent military clash. The allegation comes after the two governments promised that negotiations to resolve a dispute will resume next month. Rory Byrne has this report from Phnom Penh.

Thailand says its troops are not responsible for damage at the Preah Vihear temple, which sits just inside Cambodia. Soldiers from the two countries clashed there almost two weeks ago.

Cambodia officials say the Thais damaged the temple with rockets.

The dispute over ownership of land leading up to the 900-year-old complex has heated up since July, when Cambodia successfully asked that it be designated a United Nations World Heritage site. On October 15, several soldiers on both sides were injured or killed when fighting erupted.

Late last week, the prime ministers of the two countries met on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe summit in Beijing, and pledged to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh on Sunday described the meeting.

"It was very was very friendly and both prime ministers have agreed together that we have to avoid further clashes among the military that are stationed along the border," Cham said. "And we have to again start increasing the cooperation and the negotiations at all levels."

In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled the Preah Vihear temple lies in Cambodia, but land surrounding it remains the subject of rival territorial claims.

Cham Prasiddh says the two countries will resume talks on the dispute next week, after the Thai parliament approves a framework for the negotiations. The parliament is expected to discuss the matter Tuesday.
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