FIFA, football’s international governing body, will help train 20 Cambodian women later this month to be the country’s first female coaches as part of an effort to promote sport among girls and women, Football Federation of Cambodia officials said Monday.
FFC Deputy Secretary-General May Tola said that Australian coach Belinda Wilson will run the training session from March 26th to 30th in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district, adding that the course would be the first ever in Cambodia for women.
“This is the first time training in Cambodia,” May Tola said, adding that neighboring countries are more active in women’s football.
The 20 women were selected from NGOs in Battambang province and Phnom Penh, May Tola said.
He added that he was not sure whether Cambodia will have a national women’s team by this year, but he noted that Laos, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand will all be sending their women’s football teams to the Southeast Asian Games in December.
“The objective is to have many women players, so we must have coaches,” he said.
“Men can also coach women, but we want the movement going together,” May Tola said of the campaign to encourage female players and coaches.
On Saturday, the team from French NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant won the first FFC-endorsed tournament for girls under 16 at the capital’s Old Stadium, while Battambang-based NGOs Spirit of Soccer and ASPECA took second and third places respectively, said Hang Simon, manager of the FFC women’s football department.
Hang Simon said Monday that she had visited girls in various schools as well as NGOs in the provinces and Phnom Penh to encourage football among them.
She added that many Cambodian girls don’t like to play football because they think it is too strenuous and that it would make them look ugly. Another reason was that they tend to get married at younger ages than men, Hang Simon said.
Hang Simon said she explains to young girls that “football is healthy and fun; it is healthier than [superficial] beauty.”