Phouchong Neak’s Then Sok (right) vies with Oddar Meanchey’s Sheng Longdy during last year’s Division A1 third place playoff. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) has revealed they are hoping to establish a Cambodian Second League to help strengthen the standard of domestic football in the Kingdom.
May Tola, Deputy General Secretary and spokesman for the FFC, assured the Federation was fully committed to developing a secondary tier. However, he could not confirm whether this new league would be formed within the calendar year as they were still waiting to see how many teams are interested.
“Since the purpose of the organisation of the league is to cater to more young players, we think it is best to limit the age to under 21 [years olds],” said May Tola, adding that they had yet to find sponsorship.
All Cambodian clubs boasting well structured managements are welcomed by the FFC to participate in competition, although players must not be on the books for any squad playing in the Metfone C-League. Foreign players will also not be allowed to play.
A registration fee of 2 million riels (US$489) per team has been proposed, with the amounts to be paid back after the conclusion of the season.
The top two teams will be promoted into the Metfone C-League and replaced by the two relegated sides. Up until now, the Federation has traded two teams from Division A1, which is organised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, with the worst two performers of the MCL. Exceptions have been made in the circumstance that a team has pulled out, such as this year when Khemara Keila withdrew due to financial difficulties.
The gulf in class between the top tier sides and those from the second division can be alarmingly wide, with newly promoted clubs suffering substantial defeats, such as debutants Rithy Sen who have conceded 37 goals in seven matches so far this year. Clubs also fare badly after a drop, with some forced to disband or combine with other teams.
National team’s new jerseys
The Cambodian national team introduced newly designed red and white shirts during their friendly match against a U23 Malaysian side at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday. May Tola revealed the new uniform has been donated by Korean owned Tomato Specialized Bank.
“We don’t have any specific contract. It’s just from the personal relationship between the bank manager and coach Lee Tae Hoon,” said May Tola.
The national strip is traditionally red or blue to match the colours of the Cambodian flag.
Another issue up for discussion at the Federation is the official nickname for the national team. Cambodia was previously known as ‘The Royals’ and the FFC is said to be keen on deciding an alternative moniker for the squad.
Nicknames of some of the regional neighbours include the War Elephants of Thailand, the Malayan Tigers of Malaysia, the Garudas of Indonesia, the Azkals or Street Dogs of the Philippines, the Lions of Singapore, and the Red Warriors of Vietnam.