Svay Rieng Dominate Boeung Ket to Claim CPL Title

In an impressive display of skill and teamwork, Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng clinched the Cambodian Premier League (CPL) championship for the 2023-2024 season by soundly defeating Boeung Ket 4-1 at the Svay Rieng Stadium on Saturday.

This comes just after securing the Hun Sen Cup for the fifth time one week ago, edging past Phnom Penh Crown with a 1-0 victory at the National Olympic Stadium, drawing a massive crowd of 30,000 enthusiastic fans.

The triumph over Boeung Ket in the CPL final cemented Svay Rieng’s status as the new kings of Cambodian football, much to the joy of their loyal supporters. This victory also marked Svay Rieng as the second team in history to claim two titles in a single season, a feat previously achieved by Phnom Penh Crown in 2008.

Kim Sokyuth, Saret Krya, Bounphachan Bounkong from Laos, and Japanese defender Takashi Odawara each contributed a goal in the resounding 4-1 win against Boeung Ket.

In another match on the same day, Phnom Penh Crown, Svay Rieng’s closest contender for the league title, stumbled to a 2-0 defeat against Visakha at home.

With both matches concluded, Svay Rieng soared to the top of the CPL standings with 72 points, leaving Phnom Penh Crown trailing with 64 points, a significant eight-point gap. Despite two more games left in the CPL final round, scheduled to conclude on May 12, Svay Rieng had amassed enough points to secure the championship for the season.

Guided by Spanish coach Pep Muñoz, formerly associated with Barcelona’s football academy team, Svay Rieng celebrated their third league victory, the last one dating back to 2019.

“Right from the kickoff, our players displayed remarkable performance against Boeung Ket. It’s a testament to their consistent dedication in all competitions. Winning two titles in my inaugural season with the club feels immensely gratifying,” Pep remarked post-match.

The CPL’s quality of play has witnessed a steady rise since its revival in 2021 post the COVID-19 pandemic, formerly known as the Metfone Cambodian League. This season, increased attendance at matches and online viewership have contributed to the league’s growing popularity, buoyed by CPL’s advertising initiatives targeting greater public engagement. Both social media presence and extensive news coverage have played pivotal roles in elevating the CPL’s profile.

In a September dialogue with journalists, Satoshi Saito, former CEO of the CPL, underscored the league’s commitment to enhancing the quality of all its football clubs, emphasizing that improved gameplay is pivotal in attracting new fans.

“This season, our concerted efforts have culminated in a new set of regulations governing CPL players, coaches, and referees. Additionally, each team is mandated to enlist one ASEAN player,” Saito remarked, highlighting the league’s drive towards professionalism and enhanced competitiveness.

The inclusion of foreign players not only elevates the level of professionalism but also augments the overall quality of play, appealing to a broader spectrum of fans, both domestically and internationally.

Looking ahead, the CPL is poised for expansion, with the Ministry of Interior Football Association (MIF) and Life Football Club set to join the league next year, bolstering the total number of clubs to 12.

As the CPL continues its upward trajectory, the growth of the league bodes well for the national team, with an influx of talented players enriching the player pool and enhancing the team’s competitiveness on the international stage.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.

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