THE Ministry of Health has pledged its support of the Football Federation of Cambodia’s grassroots programme, backed by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), revealed marketing consultant Stuart Ramalingham to a gathering of prospective sponsors yesterday.
Addressing the stakeholders meeting at Phnom Penh’s Sunway hotel, attended by a group of enterpreneurs, NGOs and media personnel, Ramalingham laid out a detailed plan for the implementation of the FIFA initiative and called on both the government and private organisations to cooperate in a football-inspired social charm offensive.
Referring to his meeting on Monday with Health Minister Mom Bunheng, the FIFA representative revealed the ministry was keen on associating with the programme and willing to promote sanity and hygiene as its operational theme.
“Several countries have linked health issues with this promotion and have met with a good measure of success in creating awareness among the population, particularly the younger generation,” he said.
Ramalingham added that he was also encouraged by the response to the programme by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports involving children aged 6 to 12 years old.
Making out a strong case for the inclusion of football as part of the national school curriculum, the FIFA consultant said “the game is the best teacher and its appeal goes beyond the touch lines.”
In a detailed video presentation, he drew the attention to the guaranteed benefits of implementing grassroots development, warning that “if grassroots is not cultivated, football at a higher level will suffer.”
The scheme formally launches in the next few weeks and will start to spreads its wings next year. Ramalingham noted the development “depends on a partnership approach from all sectors, and the sponsors’ contribution to a structured platform would be as invaluable to the game as it would be beneficial to your own business profiles.”
Quoting New Zealand and the Solomon Islands as two perfect examples for “great success” from the grassroots programme, he urged the FFC to pursue the same business philosophy and model. “FIFA can assure you commercial returns for your investment in human resources,” he said.
FFC general secretary Ouk Sethycheat said this national outreach programme “will be grown from and within schools,” adding the promotional plan included a certification course for coaches from August 24-27 and a two-day grassroots festival after that.
The FFC official stated the objectives for this year included development of a strong long-term structure and spreading key messages of national interest at the junior level.
Deputy Secretary May Tola, who shared the stage with Ramalingham, acted as Cambodian translator for the nearly two-hour long presentation.