Cambodian Football Gets a Boost From Japan

Thanks in part to support from a Japanese advertising giant, the Cambodian Football Federation is set to revive its defunct club league, according to federation President Khek Ravy.

The league, which will begin in late October, will be made up of 10 teams and its annual season of play will last more than four months, Khek Ravy said. Part­icipating teams will be chosen from the top performers in a September tournament of about 30 teams from around the country, Khek Ravy said last week.

Dentsu, the Japanese advertising firm, has agreed to a six-year financial commitment to Cam­bodian football, Khek Ravy said. “We are expecting about $100,000 for a start,” he said.

The money will be divided between Cambodia’s youth teams, its national team and the new league. Dentsu will also help line up sponsors for individual teams, Khek Ravy said.

“I would like to change the spirit of the teams,” Khek Ravy said. In the old league, “the CFF used to subsidize the teams. I will re­quest that the teams have their own finances to participate in the premier league. They will sign a contract with the CFF that states they can sustain themselves for the whole season.”

Khek Ravy said that in the past, sponsors were more interested in promoting their products than Cambodian youth development. “The teams will have sponsors and a condition is that they must have good management.”

The league, Khek Ravy said, will provide an outlet for Cam­bodia’s best players to play year-round. “The league is a major breakthrough. [Without it], Cam­bodia’s performance cannot improve,” he said.

Cambodian football officials and coaches have often cited a lack of game experience as a main cause for the national teams’ poor international performances. This is why Khek Ravy is miffed at the Cambodian Olympic Committee’s decision not to send the football team to the Southeast Asian Games early next year.

“The Olympic Committee says that performance is too low [to send the team], this is not good thinking. Without experience, the national team cannot perform,” he said.

The next test for the Cam­bodian national team will be the Tiger Cup which will be held in Jakarta and Singapore in De­cember.



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