It is not only the Metfone Cambodian League (MCL) that will resume soon. Another major football tournament in the Kingdom, the Hun Sen Cup, will also return to the scene in the next few weeks after being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a post on the website of the Cambodian National Competitions Committee (CNCC), the 2020 Season of the Hun Sen Cup will resume on June 30, a few days ahead of the MCL.
Like the MCL, the Hun Sen Cup was suspended in late March after a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in the Kingdom. At that time, the Hun Sen Cup was in the midst of its Provincial Stage.
The Hun Sen Cup, which is named after Prime Minister Hun Sen, starts with a Provincial Stage, followed by the National Stage. In the National Stage, Cambodian League clubs join the competition.
This year, there are 17 provincial teams, divided into five groups, which are slogging it out in the Provincial Stage.
The Provincial Stage started on February 5. It will resume on June 30 until July 29. The National Stage, meanwhile, will start on August 12 and will end on November 27.
Before the tournament was halted, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat were leading in Group A with 10 points each, according to information from cambodiafootball.com, a website that tracks football tournaments across the Kingdom. In Group B, Siem Reap is leading the charge with nine points.
In Group C, Prey Veng is ahead after collaring eight points, while in Group D, Kampong Speu recorded eight points to top the group. Kep is leading in Group E with 13 points under its belt.
Following the recommendations laid down by the sports authorities, the Hun Sen Cup 2020 matches will be played without fans and limited to 100 people. Participants are also expected to disinfect all equipment before the matches, maintain proper hygiene and social distancing, among other precautions.
So far, Cambodia is ‘winning’ the fight against coronavirus, leading the Government to ease restrictions on sports activities in later part of May. Cambodia has recorded 126 cases of coronavirus infection, a figure much lower than that of many countries around the world.
Last year, Boeng Ket FC beat Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC, 1-1 (5-4), in a penalty shootout thriller to bring home the crown. Held annually, the Hun Sen Cup is among the most prestigious football tournaments in this Kingdom of 16 million people.