BIDC chief executive Nguyen Van Hien (second left) and FFC president General Sao Sokha at the official draw for the BIDC Cup on Saturday. Photo by: Sreng Mengsrun
THE Mekong Region Youth International Football Tournament for the BIDC Cup was launched on Saturday with a formal draw ceremony at the NagaWorld Auditorium to determine the groupings of the six-team competition to be held in Phnom Penh from October 8 to 16.
As hosts of the event, Cambodia enjoyed the privilege of choosing their group.
Football Federation of Cambodia president General Sao Sokha smilingly opted for Group B, alongside Laos and Myanmar, after the two names had been drawn by lots.
Vietnam, Thailand and China’s Wuhan Hongxing FC form Group A. With the exception of the Chinese provincial champion side, the other five countries are fielding their national under-21 teams.
“It’s a big boost for football development in the Mekong belt, and its timing will also help the preparations for the SEA Games in November,” Sao Sokha said in his address.
The Vietnam-based Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia will be the title sponsor.
Metfone, a leading telecommunications company in Cambodia, will be the tournament’s main sponsors.
Phnom Penh-based NagaWorld and Hoang Anh Gia Lai of Vietnam are stepping in as co-sponsors of the event, the first edition of which, involving Laos, Cambodia and two teams from Vietnam, was held in 2009.
“We started it in a small way, and now it has grown bigger,’’ BIDC chief executive Nguyen Van Hien told a media conference after the draw.
“Our aim is to help development of football among young people in the Mekong region and, as a bank operating in three countries in the region, we are determined to support this effort.”
The signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding between the BIDC and FFC was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, in Phnom Penh on April 24, paving the way for this event.
Explaining the draw mechanism, FFC spokesman May Tola said the six teams, split into two groups, would play a one-round league, with the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals. There will be no play-off for third place.
Apart from the glittering BIDC Cup, the champion team will get a cash award of $20,000 and a gold medal each for 25 members of the team.
The runners-up will get $15,000, while both the semi-finalists will be rewarded with $10,000 each. The event’s top scorer is assured of $1,000.
Referees and assistant referees from the 2011 FIFA list have been drafted in to officiate during the tournament.
Thanks to NagaWorld, a bonanza awaits the Cambodian team, with the FFC being the main beneficiaries. If Cambodia wins the tournament or finishes second, NagaWorld will give the FFC a cash reward of $30,000 or $20,000 respectively. The federation will also receive $2,000 for every goal scored by the home team, excluding penalty shoot-outs.
“NagaWorld will also host all the referees and key officials for the duration of the tournament,’’ sports marketing manager Hans Yeo told the Post yesterday.