Senior members of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia spoke to reporters yesterday to clarify why the senior Cambodian football team would not be involved at the impending 18th Jakarta Asian Games which kicks off next month .
Vath Chamroeun, secretary general of the NOCC said the focus for Cambodian football is on the SEA Games – and especially for the Phnom Penh SEA Games in 2023.
“We can compete at Under-16, Under-18, Under-21 youth levels as this will help our bid to improve before 2023, said the secretary general. “But we did not yet join the Asian Games.”
24 countries will compete in football in Jakarta with ASEAN represented by Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Singapore, Brunei the Philippines, and Cambodia will not compete.
“Football is growing here and is increasingly popular, said Mr. Chamroeun. “But we have not sent a [senior] football team to the Asian Games. The standard at the Asian Games is very high and it would be difficult for Cambodia to compete. The Asian Games is big but if it was youth level we would send a squad.”
Mr. Chamroeun said that Cambodia would participate in 13 sporting discplines with 71 athletes set to compete on behalf of the Kingdom. The 13 sports were chosen following a series of discussions between the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports.
“These 13 individual sports have a technical quality which Cambodia can compete in against other countries In Asia. They include taekwondo, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, and judo.
In these sports we can expect to have a shot at earning medals,” added Mr. Chamroeun.
The Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games 2018 is expected to kick off on August 18 and will see more than 11,000 athletes from 45 countries descend on Indonesia to compete for medals in 40 sporting discplines.
Indonesian tourism minister Arief Yahya recently said the country is expected to earn over $220 milion from the over 278,000 people involved in the quadriennial sporting spectacle.