Cambodia’s duo of young representatives joined the sixth season of Football for Friendship (F4F) Programme implemented by Gazprom in Moscow, Russia.
The programme, by the official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, took place between 8th-15th June, brought together young football players and young journalists aged 12-years old from 211 countries and regions. The young footballers were united in 32 International Teams of Friendship, and were accompanied by young journalists who were selected to report on the events.
Sokheng and Makara, were selected by the Football Federation of Cambodia in collaboration with NGO Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF).
Sokheng played in the “Angelshark” team, along with his 12-year old teammates from US Virgin Islands, Libya, Sierra Leone, Palestine and France, and scored two critical goals in three matches. His team performed exceedingly well in all the qualifying games, however, they were just a few goals short of qualifying for the quarter- finals.
Speaking about his experience in Russia, Sokheng was glowing; “Russia was very different to Cambodia. In Moscow, the buildings were so tall and the city was nice. The language and food was different too but I liked it. It was my first time away from home and flying for the first time was a little scary but on my way home I knew what to expect and it felt normal. I’m so happy to have received this opportunity. Watching the World Cup in real life was wonderful. Everyone was so excited for me to go, my family, my friends, even my teachers at ISF! I met people from all over the world like India and China and we played lots of football together and I made new friends. The trip was for 10 days and my favourite part was when we played football. I scored two goals!”
It was no different for Sok Makara who acted as the young journalist and covered all key events on equal terms with the adult reporters. The young ambassador from Kampong Speu Province got a chance to learn from the well-known journalists representing the leading Russian sports media outlets, as a part of their workshops.
Sokheng was also part of the opening ceremony of the World Cup as Cambodia’s flag bearer. The young ambassadors also got to watch the opening match.