May 19 2011
For less than the price you’d pay for a pint while watching a Premier League game at a pub back home, you can see a professional football match in Phnom Penh. The season is in full swing right now and with Cambodia hosting Asian Football Confederation President’s Cup games this weekend, there are a lot of chances to catch a match.
The Football Federation of Cambodia was founded in 1933 and has been a member of FIFA since 1953. The Metfone C-League is the top division of the Cambodian Football Federation, and games, which are usually held at Olympic Stadium, cost just 2,000 riel ($0.50) and provide an afternoon’s worth of local entertainment. You won’t find Messi or Ronaldo, but the Cambodian league has recruited a number of foreign players, mostly African, to play alongside their Khmer counterparts and the league has a raft of dedicated young fans who are delighted by the fact that the games always have at least a few dramatic points scored.
I caught up with Andy Brouwer, Cambodia football journalist and enthusiast, and learned more about the league’s progress. “Cambodian football is developing slowly because they don’t yet have the grassroots and youth development that other countries have,” Brouwer told me via email. He writes a blog that is easily the most comprehensive English-language source of information on football in Cambodia.
Brouwer is particularly excited about the AFC President’s Cup games, being played May 21-25th at Olympic Stadium. “It’s the 3rd tier of what would be called Champions League in Europe, for Asian clubs. The competition for what are regarded as the ‘emerging nations’ like Cambodia is the President’s Cup. Essentially Crown are representing Cambodia in the biggest club competition that any Cambodian team can enter. Only the champions of a national league can enter it.” Brouwer explained.
Although Cambodia has played in the President’s Cup before, this will be the first time they will be hosting matches. So if you want to watch history being made, head down to Olympic Stadium this weekend and take in a game.
The schedule is as follows:
May 21 – 13:30 Neftchi (Kyrgyzstan) v Abahani (Bangladesh)
May 21 – 16:00 PPCFC (Cambodia) v Don Bosco (Sri Lanka)
May 23 – 13.30 Don Bosco v Neftchi
May 23 – 16:00 Abahani v PPCFC
May 25 – 13:30 Abahani v Don Bosco
May 25 – 16:00 PPCFC v Neftchi
But if you miss the President’s Cup, never fear. There are 64 more games this season in the Metfone C-League still to come, with the last one being played on September 3rd. You can find a schedule of the upcoming games on the official Cambodia League site, but most Wednesdays at 15:30 at Saturdays and Sundays at 14:00 and 16:00 you’ll be able to catch a match at Olympic Stadium.
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