Three new teams from Kandal, Siem Reap and Takeo have emerged this year to boost the Cellcard Cambodia National Volleyball League (Disabled) for its 10th anniversary, which will now see 13 teams begin games in December.
This increasingly popular competition, entirely managed by local staff, is being held three months later than normal, between December and March, with an eye on building a strong national team for the 2011 Standing Volleyball World Cup. CNVLD General Secretary Chris Minko has revealed their intent to host the international event, which would be their third time in four years, in July next year. “We are confident of staging [the World Cup] at the Olympic Stadium here,” he said.
The CNVLD organised its first World Cup in 2007, with Cambodia finishing a noteworthy third. In the 2009 edition in Phnom Penh, the Kingdom’s men slipped one place to fourth. However, international praise came more for the organisational ability of the CNVLD than the performance of the host nation.
“The massive success of the last World Cup has led to heightened awareness of the most professional league in Cambodia and three new teams entering the fray is a clear sign of that changing trend,” said Minko.
The Secretary expressed his belief in the standard of the league players by offering up the chance to be proved wrong.
“It is open challenge to any able bodied team in Cambodia to come and beat our national team. Make no mistake, this league produces high quality volleyball and disability, as such is, not a factor at all,” he said.
All the 13 teams for this year’s event received their training balls, nets and court equipment at a special coaches meeting chaired by CNVLD sports managers Pich Piseth and Khuon Socheata last week.
“Our minds are sharply focused on the upcoming league and its milestone 10th edition,” said Minko. “But our attention is [also] riveted on Egypt, where the world body will finalise Cambodia’s bid by the end of this month.”