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Caught offside in Cambodia

Written By vibykhmer on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 9:40 PM



FOREIGN TALENT: Joe Morrison overseeing construction work in Cambodia (above) and trying to stay onside in a local football match. PICTURES: COURTESY OF JOE MORRISON

April 23, 2009
By Joe Morrison
Electric New Paper (Singapore)


I WAS IN Cambodia recently and by a twist of fate ended up playing football with the local team of Siem Reap which was playing the neighbouring town.
Now despite the fact that I was unable to speak any of the local lingo and they were not too good at the Geordie variation of The Queen's English, we still managed to win.

Now the reason I am telling you all this is that I love discovering how different cultures play the game because they all have different priorities on the pitch.

For example each week I play with a bunch of African lads who love to run with the ball. Great! Well not exactly, because they can't shoot and they never know when to pass.

So here I am on an uneven mud pitch watching the ball sail over my head.

This I understood because the pitch was so bumpy it makes sense to not indulge in playing it on the deck out of defence.

But there is another problem here because route one football is no good if your most advanced striker is 1.3 metres tall!

So I moved up front to provide the knockdowns and it worked. However, I was constantly caught offside.

OK I should have been more careful but the thing you must remember if like me you are ever caught in a situation whereby you are playing a game of football in a foreign land: Local Rules Always Apply.

So after I had managed to understand that there was no such thing as a corner-kick and that all throw-ins somehow were to be taken under arm, I had adapted to the match in question.

There is a moral to this story. The same principles apply to the English Premier League which is why fans should go easy on the likes of Pavlyuchenko, Quaresma, and Robinho to name just three, in the Premiership. Local Rules Also Apply and that means you have to track back and defend when without the ball.

Now, come to think of it, I believe the 200 or so 'supporters' who turned up to watch our match in Cambodia booed me off the pitch.

But I can't be sure!

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