Angkor Tiger football club, one of two Siem Reap-based teams set to play in the Metfone Cambodian League (MCL) 2020, is optimistic that it can go up in the rankings as the team begins the season at a new stadium. The MCL 2020 will kick off on Saturday.
Angkor Tiger FC has moved to the newly-completed Siem Reap United (SRU) stadium close to the city centre. Previously, the team played its games at Siem Reap Stadium.
The SRU stadium has a natural grass surface and can accommodate 3,500 spectators. Construction of the stadium, which is located just 10 minutes away from the centre of Siem Reap city, was completed late last year. It is considered one of the best football stadiums in Siem Reap.
The stadium has already hosted 15 football matches, but these were mostly friendly or pre-season games. The upcoming game between Angkor Tiger FC and Phnom Penh-based Boeung Ket FC will be the first official game to be held at the SRU stadium.
Angkor Tiger FC will have their opener versus Boeung Ket FC on Feb 16, starting at 3:30pm.
“It will be a historical moment for the club and the people of Siem Reap. We will be playing at a new stadium against a great opponent in Boeung Ket FC,” Yusuke Shinoda, general manager of Angkor Tiger FC, said.
“Our goal is to provide something to the people through football. It is time for us to make our fans happier,” he stated.
By playing at the new stadium, Shinoda said they want to become an attraction not only for locals, but for foreign tourists as well.
“Our highest number of fans are in Siem Reap, but we want more. We want to be one of the biggest attractions in the city,” he explained.
Last season, Angkor Tiger FC placed 5th overall in the Cambodian League. Shinoda said they are aiming for a higher ranking this time.
Oriol Mohedano Segura, the Spanish head coach of Angkor Tiger FC, said they are more than ready to be back on their home field after a long pre-season.
“After a very long pre-season, we have a feeling of real happiness with our first home game coming up,” he said.
Segura noted that they have made a lot of improvements in preparation for the coming season. He said their team is now stronger and more balanced, thanks to the addition of new players.
“I believe that we are now the best team in Cambodia. Be ready to see and enjoy exciting matches,” he declared.
Angkor Tiger FC now boasts a coterie of local and foreign players, including three Japanese, one Nigerian and one Brazilian.
Midfielder Yudai Ogawa of Japan, one of Angkor Tiger FC’s key players, said he is excited to play in upcoming season.
“We are focused on our first match against Boeung Ket. This is a very important game for us because we are playing in a new stadium against a good team. Fans are expecting us to get three points. We are confident about that as we played against very good teams in the pre-season,” he stressed.
Angkor Tiger FC placed third in the Asian Super Cup 2020 after a thrilling win against Visakha FC that was only decided after a penalty shootout. The pre-season tournament also featured Petaling Jaya City FC of Malaysia and Bhayangkara FC of Indonesia.
Tickets to the game on Sunday are available for $2.5 (main), $1.5 (sub main) and $1 (back stands). The rates for foreigners is subject to change.