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Sports Notes - NBA's LA Clippers Turn The Beat Around


NBA

Los Angeles Clippers Elton Brand

 

 

James Loving - National Radio Text Service

 

The NBA's Los Angeles Clippers Now Have Winning Ways - MLB's Kirby Puckett Remembered - Cambodia's Premiers Football League Is On - Prince Ranariddh's Khemera Squad Defends Championship - Former Cambodia National Team Coach Joachim Fickert Returns To Coach Premiere League Side - ESPN Sports Analyst Scott O'Donell Has New Position In Cambodian Football - Cambodia National Team Stars Hok Sochetra Is Now A Coach & Sam El Nasa With Military Police - FIFA Top 10

 

Wednesday March 8, 2006

The NBA's Los Angeles Clippers Turn The Beat Around

There is a song recorded a number of years ago the had the lyric 'Turn The Beat Around.' This season The NBA's Los Angeles Clippers are exemplary of the lyric.

With a blend of youth and veteran OG's (old guys) the Clippers are on the verge of having their first winning season in 14-years and its first playoff berth in 10 campaigns . The cornerstones of this effort are two former Duke University college teammates Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.

The teams long standing reputation of being losers is now being turned around. Their win loss record proves their losing reputation out evidenced by their overall record of 1,017 wins and 1,821 losses during their 35-year history.

In the past the Clippers have been forward rich and guard poor. They lacked leadership at the critical guard position that is responsible for making savvy decisions in distributing the ball and being dangerous enough with their shooting ability to open up the opponents defense so the team's game plan can be effective. This year the Clippers VP/GM (vice president/general manager Elgin Baylor added veterans Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley to the squad giving the team a deadly inside outside presence.

The team now has maturity with the blend of young and talented players working with experienced veterans. They are no longer the scapegoats of their cross-town rivals the Los Angles Lakers whose current VP/part owner and former superstar player Magic Johnson once said of the Clippers…… Full story coming in the March edition of NBA Beat. February NBA Beat…

KIRBY PUCKETT… Remembered

On Monday the MLB (Major League Baseball) lost one of its greatest players. Kirby Puckett passed away at the age of 45 from a stroke.

Puckett retired from baseball in 1996 after losing his sight in his right eye due to the eye disease glaucoma.

He was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame if his first year of eligibility in 2001. Puckett played for only one team the Minnesota Twins during his career. He helped them win two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.

He was one of the good guys in baseball. He didn't look like an athlete. He was short (5'8") and stocky with a barrel chest and fireplug shape but could pound the ball as evidenced by his career .318 batting average. The centerfielder was selected to the All-Star team 10 times during his 12-year major league career.

When I first started reporting on sports in 1988, I was warned to watch out for baseball players because many were rude and not so friendly. They were known to be the worst interviews in sports. That didn't apply to Puckett.

Puckett was a great interview. When I requested one he didn't hesitate. He did it while eating his meal. He is the only athlete that I have interviewed while he was eating (at his request).

While chomping on corn on the cob he energetically answered all of my questions. In doing so I will never forget his exuberance and BIG SMILE. Kirby Puckett… one of the best… laid to rest.

Khemera seen here with players from the Netherlands are defending Cambodian Premiere Football League champions - NR photo

Prince Norodom Ranariddh Sihanouk seen here greeting a Thailand celebrity football team is the owner of the defending Cambodian Premiere Football League champions Khemera - CFF photo

Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium is the site of the Cambodian Premiere Football League - NR photo

Former Cambodian national team player Hok Sochetra is now a Premiere League coach - (AFC marketing shot)

Former Cambodian national team coach Joachim Fickert with CFF (Cambodian Football Federation) president Ravy Khek - photo courtesy of Joachim Fickert

Cambodian national team player Sam El Nasa - NR photo

Scott O'Donell - NR photo

 

 

CAMBODIAN PREMIERE FOOTBALL LEAGUE BEGINS 2nd SEASON

For the past nine seasons that I've been covering Cambodian Football there has been nothing much to talk about.

That's the bad news. The good news is there seems to really be an effort put forward to make football happen in the country as the Cambodia Premier Football League began its second season at Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium last weekend.

There are ten teams if the league the year with defending league champions Khemera leading the way. They opened up their season with a 1-1 result with Phnom Penh United in a rematch of last year's championship game. Why???

Phnom Penh United was the Hello United side last year. Former national team star player Hok Sochetra is the PPU coach. He is also a former player of Hello United/Samart.

This years name change came about when the teams sponsor and Sochetra's employer Samart was sold to Telecom Malaysia.

According to the Bangkok Post's March 1 Database edition Telecom spent $61.8 million US dollars for 100% of Cambodia Samart Communication and 24.42% of Samart I-Mobile.

Sochetra knew of the transaction prior to the start of the season. Due to his not knowing if the new owners would sponsor a football team he secured another sponsor thus the name change.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh Shianouk's Khemera side has gone though some changes since winning their title last season.

They have signed a new coach from North Korea and added two North Korean players.

Nigerian Ike Michael returns after being dropped from the side at the conclusion of last season due to a salary dispute and a personality clash with the former coach.

Last season Michael was the league's leading scorer on a goals per game basis by knocking 17 goals in the back of the net in eleven games. The leagues top scorer registered 22 goals in 22 games.

As they say what goes around comes around and that is the case of former Cambodian national team coach Joachim Fickert who has returned to coach the NAGA side.

He will now be coaching against his former national team players Sochetra and Sam El Nasa.

That was the case Saturday as Nasa scored two goals for his PM side (Military Police… Please don't ask why they have inverted the initials of the name) as the sides finished on level terms 4-4.

Other scores:

RCAF 4 - Navy 0

Koh Kong 2 - Logistic 0

Keila Rith 5 - Khmer Empire 1

Two new teams joined the Premiere League this season. Khmer Empire and Keila Rith were promoted from the Honorary Division.

Both teams are complimented with players from four different squads.

Empire has players from the Siem Reap and Kendal sides. Kelia Rith has included players from the Kampot Province side and the Ministry of Interior.


SCOTT O'DONELL ADVISES

The picture isn't clear regarding the status of ESPN sports analyst Scott O'Donell as being the national team coach.

Khemera was named the national team to represent Cambodia in the recent Sea Games in Manila. Therefore the then Khemera coach is on record as being the last national team coach.

A CFF representative said at present O'Donell is working with the CFF as a technical director.

There is a minnow's tournament scheduled to be played in April. It will be comprised of the weak sides in the region.

The 10-team tournament includes Cambodia, the Philippines, Brunei, Timor Este and Laos.

The CFF could not furnish any information regarding the event. There is no information on the ASEAN web site that was out of operation this past week. No information was available on the AFC web site.

There are questions.

1. If any team represents Cambodia who will it be… Khemera or the players selected by the CFF?

2. Who will be the coach? Stay tuned…


FIFA TOP TEN

Rank/Team/Points

1. Brazil - 837

2. Czech Republic - 793

3. Netherlands - 791

4. Argentina - 769

5. France - 765

6. Spain - 765

6. Mexico - 765

6. USA - 765

9. England - 758

10. Portugal - 756

(FIFA)

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