Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Friendly football fixture unites nations

Friendly football fixture unites nations

Friendly football fixture unites nations

110929_26
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) goes to tackle former Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat in front of current Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan during their friendly match at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

The 90-minute friendly football match between politicians and high ranking officials of Cambodia and Thailand went off without a hitch on Saturday at Olympic Stadium, as thousands of home and visiting fans celebrated the new-found friendship between the governments.

The bloody border disputes that dominated the headlines in April of this year seemed a distant memory as Cambodian Prime Minster Hun Sen led his red-shirted side to a 10-7 victory over the blue team captained by former Thailand Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Both sides were comprised of members of either delegation, helping to play down any notions of competitiveness.

The 59-year-old Hun Sen scored four goals for the Reds, a tally matched by President of the Cambodian National Assembly Heng Samrin, 77, for the Blues.

During an address to the packed stands in the build up to kickoff, Hun Sen had called the event a “showpiece of the good relationship between the two neighbouring countries”, adding that that game would see a change from using weapons to using football.

Cambodian soccer fan Sok Sambath, 30, said he was “very excited to see this event live”, adding that he was surprised to see a sizeable turnout of Thai fans.

Thailand national Pornsatid Ponpuak, a 38-year-old cook from Bangkok who claimed to have made the trip especially for the match at her own expense, said she thought “most Thai people love the new government policy that can make a good relationship with a neighbour like Cambodia”.

Sao Sokha, president of the Football Federation of Cambodia and wearer of the number 7 shirt for the Reds, said the match was a good example of the ongoing process which sees both Kingdoms enjoy smooth relations once again. He noted, however, that the benevolence was not necessarily long-term and would rely on the solidarity of citizens as well.

TRANSLATED BY PANN RETHEA

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked