Prek Pnov primary school (PPPS) and World International School (WIS) have topped their respective categories in the Toyota Football For Tomorrow league.
During the grand finals on Sunday at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, PPPS edged Russey Keo primary school in a penalty shootout thriller to win the championship trophy in the boys’ division.
The teams were tied 0-0 after 10 minutes, leading to a penalty shootout, which PPPS won, 5-4.
PPPS earlier beat AI Centre, 1-0, to win the first finals berth. Russey grabbed the second finals slot after a 3-2 win versus Toul Sleng primary school (TSPS).
There were eight U12 boys teams that competed in the grand finals. AI Centre bagged the third place, followed by TSPS, IEL International School, World International School, Hiroshima House and The Northline School.
The girls’ team of PPPS was not so fortunate after falling to WIS, 1-0, in their own finals match. The Hiroshima House girls’ team placed third, while the fourth place went to Norodom primary school. There are four finalists on the girls’ side.
Families, friends and school supporters were there to watch the games. For each match, the boys played for 10 minutes and the girls played for seven.
Toyota Football For Tomorrow debuted in 2015 and has been held every year since then by Toyota (Cambodia). Its stated goal is to help children and young people in Cambodia achieve their “impossible dreams” and is geared towards producing the Kingdom’s future football stars.
Kong Nuon, chairman of Toyota (Cambodia), said in a media briefing last week that the tournament is one way of giving back to the community. “Sports enable the communities we serve to develop their passions and aspirations,” he said, adding that they chose football because of its popularity in the Kingdom.
This year’s edition of Toyota Football For Tomorrow is particularly notable for including a girls’ category for the first time.
Tai Saito, managing director of Soriya, School Teachers and Toyota Managements, said in the same media briefing that they wanted to send the message that everyone, as long as they are qualified, is welcome to join.
“Whatever gender you are and wherever you are from, you are welcome to join this tournament,” he commented.
There were 24 teams (both private and public schools) that joined this year’s edition of the Toyota Football For Tomorrow championship. The number was pared down to 12 finalists (eight boys and four girls) at the end of the qualifying round.
Last year’s edition was won by AI Centre, with TSPS stealing the winner’s crown the highest number of times.