Tiger Street Football 2020 finally ended, with UYFC Komchaymear bringing home the crown and the $15,000 top prize after winning the championship in Cambodia’s most prestigious and biggest football tournament.
The team from Phnom Penh relied on its superior all-around game to eke out a 1-0 win versus Vandasak in the last day of the grand finals in front of the Koh Pich Theatre in Phnom Penh. The grand finals was held from Feb 29 to March 1 and involved 64 finalists.
As the runner-up, Vandasak received a $5,000 cash prize.
Third place went to Rolling United, while Preah Sihanouk Provincial Police Commissioner won the fourth place. The winners of the third and fourth places were awarded with $2,500 and $1,000 respectively.
As expected, the grand finals was well-attended with more than a thousand fans crowding the tournament venue to watch the final matches and a game pitting the eventual TSF 2020 champions versus celebrities.
There was no shortage of action to see, with the finalists giving it their all in order to advance and win the ultimate prize. Players tried to outsmart each other on the pitch and gave their best efforts from the start of the grand finals until the last championship game.
With everything to play for, it was not unusual to see goalkeepers diving to the ground to block or save the ball. Attackers, for their part, were relentlessly going for the goal, while the defenders were equally determined to stop them in their tracks.
The atmosphere was electric and as well as the on-pitch action, spectators from Phnom Penh and other provinces also had a cool experience at the Tiger Crystal Igloo and other football-related activities on-site, including instant jersey printing and painting Tiger footballs.
Top celebrities and performers, including Aok Sokunkanha, Meas Soksophea, Khemarak sereymon and Small world small band were there to entertain the crowd for three days from Feb 28 to March 1.
The Tiger Street Football 2020 campaign started in mid-January, travelling through Kampong Speu, Siem Reap, Battambang, Poipet, Takeo, Kampong Cham and Sihanoukville before the grand finale in Phnom Penh.
More than 677 teams and 4,739 players participated in this year’s edition of the tournament. Large crowds were in attendance at every match to watch and cheer on their favorite teams. Thousands more were glued to their TV sets or watched the games through Facebook live.
English football legend Rio Ferdinand, who is widely regarded as one of the most decorated and finest defenders of all time, represented Tiger Street Football 2020 as the brand ambassador.
Rio ‘virtually’ attended the Grand Finals due to travel limitations. Despite that, he made his presence felt in all aspects of the event.
“It is with deep regret that I am not able to be with you this weekend for the Tiger Street Football Grand Finale. Due to the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak, I have decided to limit my travel to other continents at this moment. I was very much looking forward to visiting Cambodia for the first time and participating in the event and I send my deepest apologies to everyone attending,” he said via a live feed in the stadium.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the fans in Cambodia for their continued support, which I greatly appreciate and to wish all the players the best of luck in the tournament. I look forward to watching the event on the Tiger Facebook page and hope to have the opportunity to visit Cambodia again soon with Tiger’s support,” he added.
Since it started in 2012, Tiger Street Football has become bigger and more popular, not only in Cambodia, but also in Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar. Year after year, it has never failed in providing local football talents with a platform to showcase their skills and pursue their passion and dreams.
Last year, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Police won the championship after edging Rolling FC, 2-1, in the finals. In 2018, it was the Phnom Penh-based Anachak Baitong team that went all the way to claim the championship trophy and prize.