Members of the Rising Stars International Sports Academy (RSISA) returned to Cambodia after taking part in the first Asia Youth Cup organised by 2Touch Sports Singapore over the weekend.
The U16 side bowed out of the Asia Youth Cup after losing 4-0 to WSA Youth of Singapore in the quarter finals. The team finished fifth in the Round Robin League after losing their grip on third position.
With a heavily depleted side following injuries to first-choice goalkeeper Visal Seak and winger Rynaldo Anthony, the Academy from Cambodia had to play the quarter finals with six players and a makeshift keeper. It was a mountain to climb, and after the moment WSA Youth took the lead within five minutes, it was damage limitation.
RSISA U14 boys, however, were able to get to the semi finals of the Plate only to lose on penalties after the match against Serporn of the Philippines ended 0-0 in regulation time.
In the third-place playoffs they also fell 1-0 on penalties after full-time ended 0-0 against Amstam Soccer School from Indonesia.
The U14s, on the other hand, finished seventh in the 13 team U14s. The top six teams were grouped in the Cup, while the bottom six contested in the Plate. RSISA finished joint top with Amstam Soccer School Indonesia with nine points after they won two and drew three games, and were pitched against Serporn of the Philippines before bowing out on penalties, losing 1-0 after full-time ended 0-0.
The team led by RSISA director Ken Gadaffi and coach Sum Vanna, along with 17 players, returned to Cambodia on Monday afternoon with pride.
“We are proud of our achievements. We came very close to winning the top prize, but lack of enough subs as the games were so many and came quickly made most of our players tired or injured” Ken Gadaffi said.
“It was a good experience for the boys most of whom are students and only get to train with our academy once or twice a week. Many of the teams that took part are from academies across Asia with regular training sessions and we were able to match them, which is a source of pride for us as a team.”
RSISA’s most valuable player for the U16s was Nigeria-born 16-year-old Wisdom Ogbonna who finished the tournament with 12 goals in 19 games. While the U14s MVP was 14-year-old goalkeeper Thea Ra with 51 saves and nine clean sheets from 13 games.