The 10th annual Bayon Challenge football tournament will be held at the 7NG field this weekend. Event organiser Billy Barnaart has confirmed the participation of six teams, including last year’s finalists Saigon Saints and fellow Vietnamese club Hanoi Drink Team, as well as local sides Bayon Wanderers, Apsara Dancers, Wing and Ezecom.
“We may have two more teams: 7NG, along with ANZ Royal, Smart or Beeline,” Barnaart told the Post yesterday. “We would like to have eight teams, but it’s not a problem enjoying a tournament with six teams.”
The 62-year-old Dutchman and football fanatic noted his disappointment that reigning champions ACLEDA Bank would not be able to defend their title this year because of a prior commitment in Prey Veng Province.
“But with two foreign teams playing, the event will be highly competitive,” he said.
In the absence of title sponsors, organisers had no option but to charge a registration fee of US$600 for each team to cover costs.
But the tournament has co-sponsors such as Tiger Beer, Coca-Cola, Phoenix Security, FCC, Ajax Amsterdam and Dimensions UPVC Windows & Doors helping in various areas. SOS Medical Clinic will provide free first aid on Saturday and Sunday.
The event had to be shifted this year from its usual venue, Phnom Penh’s Old Stadium, after authorities rented the stadium to the Cambodian Rugby Federation on the same dates, despite a booking having been made in January.
The format of the tournament will depend on the final number of entries and will be decided on Friday when the team captains meet at the FCC.
In the event of only six teams taking part, it will be a round-robin contest with the top four teams playing criss-cross semi-finals, followed by a third place playoff and grand final. The last two finishers will vie for fifth and sixth places.
In the Far East Bangkok International Tournament earlier this year, Apsara Dancers finished second in the Masters Event for over-35s while Bayon Wanderers, playing in the under-35 open tournament, ended up seventh.