THE 2009 FFC Hello Futsal League kicked off Saturday at 8am inside Olympic Stadium, with a feast of goals to entertain the attending audience. Eight teams compete for the trophy this year, including Funan FC, Rama Holding Group (formerly Cambo Six), Youth Olympic, Khmer Super Red, Toul Sangke All Star, Khmer Eysann, Dei Ek Katde and Panda FC.
The league participants were halved for this year, with the eight quarterfinalists chosen to participate in a round-robin format for the trophy. Matches are to be played every Saturday, with two morning games starting at 8am and two afternoon matches from 2pm, screened live on TVK. The league concludes November 28.
Ouk Sethycheat, general secretary of the Cambodian Football Federation (FFC), said the Futsal competition is a welcome addition to the calendar of events organised by the federation, which features the Cambodian Premier League and the Samdech Hun Sen Cup. Ouk Sethycheat welcomed the new league format, which ranks teams in a table according to points and goal difference. “Every team has to get the best result from their matches,” he said.
In the opening game Saturday, Toul Sanke All Star defeated Khmer Eysann 11-5, followed by Youth Olympic bagging three points after beating Panda FC 16-8. Current champion Funan FC and runner up Rama Holding Group shared the points following their 6-6 draw. The last match of the day saw Dei Ek Katde succumb 6-14 to Khmer Super Red.
Bun Sok, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, stated during an opening ceremony speech that Prime Minister Hun Sen was pleased with the development of football in Cambodia, especially in regards to technical aspects and to improvement in players’ discipline. Bun Sok added that, although the premier did not attend the CPL matches, he regularly viewed them on television.
Prior to the league start, 35 referees and football officials went on a four-day Futsal refereeing course organised by FFC to learn Futsal rules and practice their implementation.
“Normally, the referees are always criticised by the public for the integrity of their work,” said one football supporter who wished to remain anonymous. “I hope that they will do better without any outside influence.”