Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local footballer praised for community action



Local footballer praised for community action

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tith Sovannara coaches a group of children as part of his project called ‘Play to Progress’. Photo supplied

Local footballer praised for community action

Putting an index finger on his lips as a shush sign before giving instructions for a football training, Tith Sovannara, 23, stood among a group of children in a school compound, telling them to pass the ball to their female counterparts before attempting to score a goal.

“Each team must have female and male members. Before striking the ball into the opponents’ goal, each female and male member must pass it to each other first."

“A male cannot pass the ball to another male to score a goal,” said Sovannara, who currently lives in a temporary shelter in the Boeung Kak area, notorious for gambling and drugs."

The team is part of the “Play to Progress” project Sovannara created earlier this year. The project aims to raise awareness of social issues and promote gender equality in sports among children living in communities that rarely have an opportunity to play sports.

A compulsive gambler turned sports enthusiast, Sovannara said: “I love football but it is not more important than giving an opportunity to poor children to develop themselves.

“That’s my dream. Sport is a vehicle that takes me to success. Sport is an effective choice for me and now it is also effective for others.”

Starting from scratch with his own scarce resources and assistance from friends, this player in a semi-professional team that just won the KMH Champions League, has been chosen as a candidate to compete in the 10th Beyond Sport Foundation in New York on September 12-13.

As the first ever Cambodian candidate among 400 others from 33 countries, Sovannara says: “It is a great success that these children understand and develop themselves.

“I still continue with my daily work as usual, but I hope to continue developing the “Play to Progress” project. I am proud to have been selected to participate in the international competition.”

Under the theme “Promoting Health and Well-being through Inclusive Sports, “Play to Progress”, which has been in operation for six months, has conducted six training courses in Kampot, Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces and Phnom Penh.

Aiming to reach out to more underprivileged children across the country, Sovannara says: “There are many ways philanthropists can help us.

“If you know of any communities in any provinces where children can’t afford football kits, I will be more than willing to help. Everyone can help with the finance and be a volunteer in the program via www.facebook.com/playtoprogess”.

Beyond Sport Foundation is a charity that celebrates, supports, raises awareness and provides funding for institutions using sports to help make the UN Sustainable Development Goal a reality.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting