The Kingdom’s corporate sector is abuzz with excitement as the second and expanded edition of the Phnom Penh Post Mini Soccer Championship kicks off this evening at Kidzcool Children & Family Fun Village on the Chhroy Changvar peninsula.
One notable drop out from the inaugural 10-team event is Total, but four new teams Banzai, Beeline, Cellcard and ANZ Royal are pitching in alongside the rebranded sides of JBCF and Me Mates Place to boost the numbers to 13. Reigning champions Devenco and runners-up Smart are the two most feared teams for the upcoming season.
“We were happy with the first edition, but this will be far bigger and better,” said Kidzcool owner and tournament organiser Eric Delacollette. “We are glad that local internet proivders Ezecom are stepping in as main sponsors and are providing us with extensive material support.”
The former Belgian youth international not that “fair play and camaraderie” were the main objectives of the league. “But I can assure you there will never be a dull moment in this event, right up to its finish in the last week of February ,” added Delacollette, who is now a partner of Banzai, a company tasked with the construction of an indoor sports stadium in Phnom Penh.
Another Banzai executive, Stephane Devos, promised they would field a competitive squad to help highlight the company’s interests in promoting sport in Cambodia. “We will put up a strong team, as it is our way of showing what we stand for.”
For new entrants Beeline, a local telecommunications company, the championship plays an important role in uniting their staff outside the workplace. “We watched last time from the sidelines and decided to join the fray now,” said Beeline CEO Gael Campan. “It could well be a part of corporate sensibility to involve employees in sports pursuits, and we look forward to this event with great enthusiasm.”
Veteran footballer Billy Barnaart, who has been a permanent fixture in the city’s soccer scene for the past 15 years, will lead out the fourth ranked Indochina side under their new name JBCF. Jeannine & Billy’s Children Foundation is a charity Barnaart created to help orphans and children affected by HIV infected parents. Despite pushing into his 60s, Barnaart is never far from the field with an amazing hunger for the game.
Me Mates Place is another outfit with a new identity, having roped in the core members of the Expat Advisory side.
Six games have been carded for today’s curtain raiser, with Phnom Penh Post taking on Cellcard at 7pm to signal the start of nearly four months of fun-filled action.