Motivation Key to ISI Dangkor Promotion: Coach

Head coach of  ISI Dangkor Senchey John Claude Bouyaloua says players’ and management motivation was key to ISI Dangkor Senchey’s promotion to the elite division of Cambodian football. Photo supplied

PHNOM PENH – Head coach of  ISI Dangkor Senchey John Claude Bouyaloua says players’ and management motivation was key to ISI Dangkor Senchey’s chance of promotion to the elite division of Cambodian football.

ISI Dangkor Senchey won key deciders but its elevation to the top level depends on league approval of its stadium, A-license status of the coach and the inclusion of four foreign players in the team.

The Cameroon-born coach of the Cham Chao district-based club has been the head coach since 2016. He led the side to finish joint top of the Cambodia League 2 along with Electricite Du Cambodge after a 5-1 humiliation of National Police in the penultimate match of the season last weekend.

Bouyaloua said his target is to recruit the best players that can carry out the job for him without sentiment with the support of club fans.

Bouyaloua, a former Asian Euro United striker saw his playing career cut short by a knee injury. He joined the coaching crew of ISI Dangkor in 2016 after serving as assistant to Australian coach John Mc Glynn. The club was then a grassroot team focused on recreational football for the KMH Park staff and community.

“When I joined the club, our director, Seng Kang was only interested in creating a recreational opportunity for the KMH staff and community. However as time went on, we started the KMH Champions league for grassroots and amateur teams which grew to about 32 teams taking part,” Bouyaloua said.

The success of the KMH Champions league along with other tournaments hosted by the KMH Park evolved into forming the KMH Football Club and in 2019 just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federation of Cambodia Football created the Cambodia Premier league 2. KMH Football Club registered and changed its name to ISI Dangkor Senchey with Bouyaloua as head coach.

“Our director was motivated by the development of the team and so decided to join the Cambodia League 2 and this motivated the players and the technical crew,” Boulayoua said.

“We wanted to prove ourselves that we can compete and so we were determined to seek the glory days.

“Our target to take ISI Dankor Senchey to the top division where it belongs was achieved through sheer determination.

“ISI Dankor Senchey is a sellable brand that needs the best players to compete in the league ahead of other clubs and so playing in the top division will enable us achieve more things.

“To succeed, we must have the right players, right structure and motivation that bring the joy to do what we do best.”

Boulayoua admitted the season was tough, considering that there were four teams chasing two promotion slots.

 Electricite Du Cambodge, Koh Kong and National Police were tied at the top, separated by goal difference.

The League Management said the winner should be decided head-to-head. ISI Dankor Sengchey had a much better goal difference than the others but trailed EDC 4-2 on goals aggregate.

EDC needed to win against Tboung Khmum and they did that by a lone goal while the ISI Dangkor clash against National Police was going to be a winner take all to get the second promotion slot.

The first half ended 0-0 leaving the ISI home fans at the edge of their seats before the home side romped home 5-1 in the second half at the AIA Stadium.

“Really it was a tough season with five teams with experience playing in the Cambodia Premier League 1 now playing in the Cambodia Premier League 2,” Boulayoua said.

“Playing against them was a big challenge and motivation for us. We realised that each game per week we are going to play was like a final.

“We applied full attention, focus and concentration to win in the row and be consistent.

“The last five games in our own new stadium were crucial and important to cross the line and we did it by winning in a row.”

Coach John Claude Boulayoua is already looking forward to life in the Cambodia Premier league 1, however the Cameroonian remains humble and will continue to work hard to take the team further.

“Looking forward to CPL 1 is a big challenge,” he said. “We know to be the best we have to face and beat the best. We must keep humble, focus and continue to work harder to raise the team to play at the first level.”

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