THE finals of Cambodia’s inaugural leg of the Tiger Street Football world tour kicks off tomorrow at Wat Botum Park. Thirty-two teams will do battle on the first of two days of action at a specially-constructed caged pitch to earn the accolade of being named the Kingdom’s top five-a-side outfit. Also at stake is a place at the Grand Finals in Guangzhou, China, alongside a $3,000 top prize.
The second-placed side will also join the winners in China in October as well as receiving a $1,500 bonus. Third-place finishers will take home $500, while the top four teams from tomorrow’s competition will feature in Saturday’s International Stage, matching up against visiting teams from Holland, Germany, China and Singapore.
Italian footballing legend Fabio Cannavaro is set to make an appearance at the event, continuing his promotion of the sport in the region which saw him make a four-day tour of Phnom Penh in January 2012.
Joining 20 teams already confirmed from Phnom Penh’s playoffs this weekend are six sides from each of the provincial qualifiers held in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Garuda FC triumphed in the Siem Reap tournament on March 1-2, with Gaea FC as runners-up, and Ta Moeurng, Bakong District Youth, Victoria Angkor FC and Sofitel Angkor FC also making the cut.
Last weekend’s preliminaries in Sihanoukville saw Anachak FC win, Vattanac Vichea FC take second spot and Gold Lion FC, Mlop Tapang FC, Yuvajun Chean Muk Organisation and Life A University grab berths in the final stage.
The winners of the two qualifiers were handed a prize of $500, with the runners-up taking $300 and third place awarded $100.
Nean Samol, marketing manager at Tiger in Cambodia said the tournament was a fine way of promoting football and tourism in the country.
“I think it is a great event, and it is exciting because it is the first time Tiger Street Football has come to Cambodia. It will show the passion for the game here and will also show off Phnom Penh, which is a great city,” he told the Post yesterday.
According to organisers, Saturday’s games are set to be broadcast live on international TV channel Fox Sports, and a host of other entertainment will be laid on, including dancing girls and the chance for fans to win prizes and Tiger beer.
“There will be lots happening as well as the football. It will be a fantastic weekend,” Samol said.