By Yun SameanAfter the RCAF volleyball team lost to a Thai military squad during a friendly match on Tuesday, National Olympic Committee President Prince Norodom Ranariddh announced that he plans to form a national volleyball squad to compete in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand.
“I will manage to establish a national volleyball team by selecting good athletes from three groups,” Prince Ranariddh told a crowd of spectators after the match at Olympic Stadium.
Prince Ranariddh told the crowd that he will select the athletes from the National Bank Team and the ranks of police and RCAF soldiers.
As he spoke, he handed out money to several members of the public, provided to him by Nhiek Bun Chhay, co-minister of defense.
“Cambodia is good at volleyball-I have high hopes,” Prince Ranariddh told the crowd.
Prince Ranariddh said he will seek a Chinese coach to train the team after its 14 players are selected. Meas Sarin, National Olympic Committee secretary-general, said the new national team should be formed next week.
Cambodia has not had a national volleyball team before because the country has not had the funds to support one, Meas Sarin said. But with Prince Ranariddh’s support a national team can now be established, he added.
“We didn’t have money to support them so after the matches we always demobilized,” Meas Sarin said.
Prince Ranariddh said the new squad would likely inspire national patriotism.
But Meas Sarin cautioned that it will likely be a long time before the Cambodian squad is able to compete successfully with the teams of neighboring countries.
“We cannot win the [matches] soon because [other national teams] were being trained a long time,” Meas Sarin said.
In November, Prince Ranariddh refashioned the national football squad with members of the team he supports, Khemara, and four hand-picked players from the national team just prior to the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines. The new squad lost every game they played.