Ranariddh Sets Sights on Volleyball

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.





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