A team sponsored by Cultivating Cambodia, a Siem Reap-based non-governmental organisation devoted to empowering the youth through education, is preparing to participate in a major charity football tournament in Siem Reap.
Rottana Sy, Director of Cultivating Cambodia, said their team has started training and engaging in friendly matches ahead of the Children Hospital Cup.
The Children Hospital Cup is a charity football tournament held every year in Siem Reap to raise funds for various causes, especially children’s hospitals.
The 2020 edition of the tournament, which often draws many football clubs from around Siem Reap, will be held later this year. No definite schedule for the tournament has yet been released, with the coronavirus still present in the Kingdom.
On Saturday, Team Cultivating Cambodia played a friendly match with Team Infantry Division 41 at Anlong Veng district. Team Cultivating Cambodia scored a 6-5 win over the hosts.
Sy said they will continue training in preparation for Children Hospital Cup and other future competitions.
“We have to do it one or two times a week if possible,” he said, pointing out they will have preventive measures and precautions in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
So far, Cambodia has 125 cases of coronavirus infection recorded in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampong Cham and other parts of the country.
According to Sy, Team Cultivating Cambodia plays not only for competition but also for fun and good health. The team is composed of 20 players.
“Most of our players are tuk-tuk drivers. They always want to play sports, but they don’t have the money to pay for jerseys or rent a pitch. We are always honoured to help and take care of them,” he said.
“We want them to have some fun while avoiding drugs and other vices,” he added.
For this year’s Children Hospital Cup, the team’s participation will be sponsored by American national Duane Weenig, the founder of Cultivating Cambodia. Teams need to pay $450 registration fee to join the tournament.
Badly affected by the pandemic, Sy said they still lack funds, but is trying to manage the problem step by step.
Team Cultivating Cambodia was part of the tournament Children Hospital Cup in 2018, but was unable to join last year because of lack of funds.
Schools run by Cultivating Cambodia provide free English and Japanese courses to children and youth ages 6-18. The organisation also works with the public school system in providing sports equipment, computer labs and computer training for secondary and high school students.