Huge turnout for Siem Reap leg of Tiger Street Football Festival

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
118 teams took part in the three-day Siem Reap extravaganza. KT/Yeun Punlue

The 2019 Tiger Street Football Festival made an instant impact on the ancient temple town of Siem Reap where it reached the sixth stop of its spectacular football roadshow.

118 teams from Siem Reap, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Kampong Thom provinces tussled for berths in the next month’s grand final in Phnom Penh – and a chance to play in front of Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho.

The three-day festival got underway on Friday with teams fighting it out in the hope of securing one of 12 qualification spots for the grand final.

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Siem Reap FC (A) fought out against 117 other teams to win the provincial prize. KT/Yeun Punlue

In yesterday evening’s final showdown Siem Reap (A) notched a goal in the first half to go into the second period with a slender lead against Siem Reap FC. They added a two-goal salvo in the second period to hold a three-goal cushion against their competition. A strike from Siem Reap was a mere consolation as the A-side held on for a 3-1 victory after three-days of exhaustive action.

The win saw Siem Reap (A) rewarded with the $1,500 provincial prize while brave runners-up Siem Reap receive $1,000. 10 other teams also made the cut for the Phnom Penh finals.

After the football action concluded, the Tiger concert featured performances from Preap Sovath, Pich Sophea, Aok Sokunkanha, Chhorn Sovannareach, Sous Viza, Nico, and DJ Maily. The Tiger Crystal cool night party at igloo club saw Kmeng Khmer take to the stage alongside Aok Sokunkanha, Mustache Band, Pich Sophea, MC Yaro, hip hop dancers, endless music and entertainment all night.

The festival also boasted cheer dancing, games booths, supporter booth-face painting and props/banners to support the teams, and special promotions of Tiger Beer.

Organisers announced they are set to bring Brazilian star Ronaldinho to Phnom Penh for the grand final. He is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation.

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His mesmerising tricks, overhead kicks, ‘blind’ passing and dribbling led him to glory with both country and club. He proved decisive in Brazil’s victory in the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as in FC Barcelona’s triumph in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final.

In 2017, Barca appointed him as Global Club Ambassador. He is also part of the Legends project, a team of former players who take part in skill clinics, training sessions, among other activities.

Siem Reap FC (A) celebrate with their winnings. KT/Yeun Punlue

Unlike traditional football, futsal and other street football formats, Tiger Street Football features a unique, customised oval caged pitch. The cutting-edge platform features a high energy continuous state of play, guaranteed to thrill the crowd throughout the two fast-paced six-minute halves in each match.

It also serves as a platform for talented players, aspiring footballers and anyone with a passion for the game to showcase their talent, and learn from good players.

The qualifying tournaments of the 7th edition of the football festival covers nine cities including, Sihanoukville, Takeo Kompong Speu, Battambang, Siem Reap, Poipet, Kompong Cham, Kandal, and Phnom Penh.

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64 top teams will be joining the final tournament with only the very best of the best teams competing for supremacy at the grand finals in Phnom Penh in front of Koh Pich Theater on 16th and 17th of March.

The festival next travels to Kampong Cham province where teams from Kampong Cham, Kratie, Stung Treng, Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng are eligible to register for next weekend’s two-day event.

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