Watching football in Cambodia was not something I had on my to do list, but now having almost been here for one year, you start to explore different things.
The Forward Together Cup
This is pre-season in Cambodia, so that means pre-season freidnles and tournaments, this was to be a 4 team format, semi-finals and finals, and featuring some of the best teams in Cambodia.
The teams were Visakha FC (the hosts), Svay Rieng FC, Angkor Tiger FC and Phnom Penh Crown FC.
On February 5t 2021 there wa stop be a double header of matches and I ended up watching both!
It was held at the Prince Stadium, home of Visakha FC. Visakha proudly call themselves the Pride of Cambodia. In 2020 they won the Hun Sen cup, their equivalent of the FA Cup.
The stadium is being renovated, but can currently host 7000 people. Of those 7000 included the famous “Blue Warriors”, the Visakha “Ultras” who were signing and banging drums throughout the first match.
Read about the Blue Warriors here.
Sadly whilst hey had a club shop I was not able to find a shirt that fit me. I shall not hold this against them. There was also no food, or beer. You have to show your passport to get in and there is intense social distancing. Altogether though a rather nice football stadium.
A distinct lack of street food too, but no worries! To read about the best street food in Phnom Penh click here .
The first match finished Visakha FC 4 Svay Rieng 1. It was actually a lot more evenly fought than the score suggests and extremely good fun to watch.
Match 2 though, this was where things got intense.
Angkor Tiger Fc of Siem Reap against powerhouse Phnom Penh Crown FC. The match was going back and forth with any team having the chance to win, before a rocket of a free kick in the dying seconds of injury time ended the match. Had it not been for this goal we would have seen penalties. I was a bit sad there were no penalties.
Overall on football in Cambodia
I was pleasantly surprised by the level of play here. Football in Cambodia looks like it has enormous potential, but more than just the football, the fans really impressed me a lot. Almost everyone as wearing their teams shirts and the crowd cheered from start to finish. Great atmosphere and some truly great games.
I’ll be seeing more Cambodian football for sure!