Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youngsters chosen to participate in World Cup event




Youngsters chosen to participate in World Cup event

Youngsters chosen to participate in World Cup event

Photo by: Tep Phany/FFC
The Football for Hope team players compete in a friendly against the U14 national team at the National Training Centre.

FOUR girls and four boys have been chosen to represent Cambodia in the Football for Hope Festival in South Africa, an official event of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Around 300 players are expected to take part in the five-a-side tournament which will welcome 32 delegations representing 50 countries to Johannesburg this summer. Competition rules stipulate that at least two girls must be on the field at all times.

The Cambodian squad, jointly selected by local NGO Spirit of Soccer and the Cambodian Football Federation, has been drawn up from members of families affected by land mines. It is estimated that an average of 2,700 people lost their lives to mines and explosive remnants of war each year between 1979 and 1999, although the number had dropped to 270 in 2008. “There are still many land mine-infested areas,” said Spirit of Soccer country director Stephen Sonderman.

During a press conference at the National Football Centre on Friday morning, Spirit of Soccer founder Scott Lee said it was a “great honour” for Cambodia to be the only country in the Southeast Asian region to be invited.

“It shows how far Cambodian youth football has advanced over the years,” he stated. “They are Cambodia’s ambassadors.”

Sonderman said that the South Africa-bound team would undergo extensive orientation programmes to prepare for their “amazing experience.”

“It is another world for them. None of them have flown [in] an aircraft before, and you can imagine the excitement,” Lee said.

The orientation programme includes interaction with local youngsters who have had experience travelling abroad, mental toughness training, English lessons and even assessments from child psychologists. The team is scheduled to stay in South Africa from June 27 to July 12, and will have the privilege of watching the semifinals and final of football premier international competition. The team is also slated to stopover in Kuala Lumpur on their return journey for a possible FIFA workshop.

The Cambodian national U-14 team joined the eight-strong Football for Hope team Friday morning at the National Football Centre on the outskirts of Phnom Penh for a joint training session that also involved a short friendly match.

Later Friday, the General Secretary of the Cambodian Football Federation Ouk Setheycheat distributed Cambodian colours to the young squad team, saying: “We at the Federation are proud of this.”

Ly Heang has been appointed as head coach of the team, with Nhoe Kamsort named as his assistant. The team will also be accompanied by Stephen Sonderman and Spirit of Soccer senior programme advisor Rachel Haig along with the two more coaches.

The Cambodian delegation includes girls Seng Socheata (Bour village, Battambang), Choeun Linda (Pailin town), Keng Channou (Bour village) and Vann Naroth (Pailin town) and boys Kheng Vanneath (Samlot village, Battambang), Yem Vith (Pailin town), Rydam Sengvy (Banan Village, Battambang) and Phon Thavrak (Sompouv Loun village, Battambang). The stand-bys are Mo Savin (Banteay Meanchey province), Choeun Kunthea (Bour village) and Tong Kosal (Banan village).

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • CNRP activist freed; Sam Rainsy pledges return to Kingdom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday released former CNRP activist Oeur Narith on bail after the court ended its questioning on suspicion of receiving money from abroad and plotting to overthrow the government, according to the authorities. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed

  • Hun Sen says developing nations ‘targets of rivalry’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the virtual UN General Assembly on Monday, saying that developing nations often become targets of punishment for their imperfections when they don’t rise to the standards of developed countries. He said rivalries between superpowers often hamper developing countries’