The Football Federation of Cambodia unveiled a raft of new youth and women’s football competitions in a concerted effort to help the Kingdom’s youngsters improve ahead of the 2023 Southeast Asia Games.
FFC president Sao Sokha presided over the inauguration of the Youth U14, U16 and Women’s Football League Cup in Kampot province on Sunday.
Mr Sokha said the competitions, which will run until March 11, 2018, were set up to strengthen young players as Cambodia prepares for the SEA Games 2023, which Cambodia will host.
According to a federation official, a total of 32 teams will contest the Under-16 and Under-14 competitions with around 1,000 budding professionals taking the field.
In the Kingdom’s first women’s league, 11 teams have signed up, including Battambang, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Vihear and Kampong Cham provinces in Group A. Group B is completed by Svay Rieng, Kratie, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Takeo and Phnom Penh Crown.
At the same ceremony, the FFC also announced a $350,000 grant to fit out the Kampot stadium with floodlights.
Mr Sokha said the stadium was deemed suitable for investment because the FFC had identified the coastal province as brimming with football potential.
Meanwhile, Chan Chesda, the Governor of Kampot province and father of national team starlet Chan Vathanaka, said he was ready to encourage his son to play abroad if a foreign club comes calling for the prodigiously talented youngster.
“As a father, I always push him to play at a good club. He is a young man of the country so when he goes to play at other clubs, I always support him, said Mr Chesda, who was at Sunday’s opening ceremony.
“With the season ending in Japan, I have no idea about which club he likes to play for. But I understand that going to clubs abroad is a chance for him to develop himself both physically, tactically, and in discipline,” added Mr Chesda.
Vathanaka, multiple Metfone C-League Golden Boot winner, has had a torrid time in Japan. Having joined J3-league club Fujieda MYFC in January he has barely featured, making a handful of substitute appearances and his form in the national team jersey has suffered as a result.