The team of Cambodian girls bound for Singapore pose at the Field of Light in Phnom Penh on Wednesday during a training session with ISF Country Manager Kate Griffin (left) and coach Sam Scweingruber (right). Photo by: SRENG MENG SRUN
IN a major fillip for women's football, local charity organisation Indochina Starfish Foundation and Battambang-based Sports and Leadership Training (SALT) Academy will send a select women's team on a week-long tour of Singapore starting this Sunday.
The excursion, supported by the Football Federation of Cambodia, has been designed to raise the profile of female participation and encourage young girls to get into the mainstream of football.
Two Singapore entities – UWCSEA East Campus and Barclays Capital – are providing logistical support for the tour which involves a friendly against the Singapore national U16 girls team on Monday and several matches against international schools, including one against the hosts East Campus. As well as sightseeing sessions, the visitors will figure in a seven-a-side tournament on November 27.
ISF Country manager Kate Griffin said in a press release: “Until 2009, Cambodia never had a national women’s team. The goal of this tour is to give women who enjoy the sport equal opportunity as men and also to bring down social barriers that tends to teach children that a woman has no place on the football field.”
For many players on the tour, this will be their first opportunity to travel beyond Cambodian borders. No one will feel this more than baby of the party, 11-year-old Srey Mom, who lives on the fringe of city's Stung Meanchey rubbish dump. Srey Mom is part of ISF's education programme that gives street children the chance to obtain a formal education.
Over its years of operation, the ISF has sponsored as many as 2,500 disadvantaged or orphaned children to get football training twice a week from qualified coaches, besides helping them participate in regular ISF leagues held annually from October to April.