The nine-member executive committee of the Cambodian Baseball Federation (CBAF) voted into office yesterday morning has unanimously elected Phin Sarun as its president in place of two-term incumbent Joe Cook, who is based in the US.
The elevation of Phin Sarun, a veteran administrator from Banteay Meanchey who is well known in sporting circles, followed a day of hectic activity at the federation’s general assembly, held at the headquarters of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.
During the assembly, the strength of the executive committee was raised from seven members to nine at the behest of the NOCC.
For the first time in the history of Cambodian baseball, Japanese baseball officials Shigeaki Anthony Nishimura and Yu Motoo were co-opted to the committee.
Later, the panel endorsed Nishimura, who is based in Ho Chi Minh City, as one of the two vice-presidents along with Nhem Thavy, and installed Yu Motoo as treasurer.
The erstwhile secretary of the federation, Chea Theary, was replaced by Pan Phean.
Speaking to reporters at the NOCC offices after the executive committee meeting yesterday, Nishimura hailed the change at the top.
“We wanted a baseball icon to take charge as president, and there is no one better qualified than Phin Sarun,” he said.
Nishimura acknowledged the “great sacrifices” made by founder Joe Cook, who will continue to serve the federat-ion as a committee member.
”I believe Joe Cook met with an accident in the US and had to cancel his proposed visit,’’ Nishimura said.
“His wife called up Ms Chea Theary to convey this news, and we couldn’t establish contact with him.
“He has made it clear he will continue to support the game.”
The newly elected vice-president revealed that the nat-ional baseball team seemed destined not to go to the SEA Games, but were keeping their hopes alive.
“The chances are slim, but we’re not giving up,” he said.
Nishimura confirmed that the national team’s base would move from Kampong Thom to Poum Kokors, 58 kilometres from Banteay Meanchey town.
“The playing facilities in the new venue are not so good. They are basic, but we have no choice. When the time is ripe, we may shift back to Kampong Thom,” he said.
”My priority is to ensure that we cut spending. As for the funding for our activities, I am confident that help could come from Japan.”
Reacting to the latest developments, NOCC secretary- general Vath Chamroeun said he was happy to note a posit-ive new outlook for the CBAF.
“Once the list of elected office-bearers reaches NOCC with a report on the general assembly, the process to affil-iate the Baseball Federation will begin,” he said.
“As an affiliate member of the NOCC, baseball will be entitled, like any other discipline, to support from both the NOCC and the Ministry of Education for conducting national championships and for training national teams,” Vath Chamroeun added.