By Nguon Setha and Sok Lak
Sports have become more important in Cambodian society because of the benefits to health and the strengthening of friendships and team spirit. The University of Cambodia (UC) Football Team was established in 2010 by the University of Cambodia Student Senate (UCSS) with the support of H.E. Kao Kim Hourn, the President of UC and Personal Adviser to Samdech Techo Prime Minister. It is the beginning of the football team’s history at UC.
|UC Football team|
The establishment of the UC football team promotes the sports sector in Cambodia, as well as healthy lifestyles for students. This also helps to build good relationships between students and the University, and between universities whose teams compete against each other. Students may also become more productive in their studies because of the skills (such as time management and team work) that they gain while playing a team sport.
The University had planned to create a UC football team for a long time, but the goal was just attained in the 4th Mandate of UCSS in 2010, said Dr. Y Ratana, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and last year’s Advisor of the UC Football Team, who added that the UC Football Team is open to all students, especially for those who love to play sports.
He also stated that establishing a football team at UC aligns with a policy of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) to create sports teams in schools and universities in order to promote sports in Cambodia.
‘’I expect [the] UC Football Team will be improved and more popular in the University,’’ said Dr. Y Ratana. “We want students to join and be involved in the football team, not only as players but also as the audience.’’
Seav Chea, a defender on the UC Football Team, said that the University has widely announced the recruitment of players for the team to students. Students needed to register, take a test, and then go through a selection process for the team. In June 2010, the UC Football Team started its training to learn football skills and techniques.
Now the UC Football Team consists of 25 players who are under the guidance of and trained by Phea Sopheak Nimol, the team’s coach.
“The team also needs to recruit more players to fill in some positions, including striker, midfielder, defender, and goalkeeper,” he said, adding that members must be UC students who are familiar with playing football and who love playing it.
The support and encouragement from spectators are very important for teams during the matches and competitions. The UC Football Team and its supporters encourage all UC students and the community to support the team when they play matches by attending the events and cheering them on.
‘’I want UC students to participate in the competition in order to support and encourage the players to play well,’’ said Mr. Chea. ‘’I also hope the school can provide more sports materials to meet the needs of the team and [people pay more attention to] the players.”
In terms of being both a student and a player on the team, Mr. Chea said that his participation on the team did not affect his studies because he was able to manage his time effectively. He also said that sports bring him relief and pleasure, which contribute to him having a positive attitude in his school work.
Playing football has greatly benefited the players; they are healthier and there is a friendly atmosphere between the students.
“It also builds the University’s reputation,” said Mr. Chea.
Heng Marady, a UC student majoring in Information Technology, said that he liked watching sports, especially soccer.
‘’I felt excited when the University of Cambodia. . .formed a football team which represents [the] university,” said Mr. Marady. “I wanted [the] UC Football Team to be well-known among all university football teams in Cambodia.”
UC English Literature student Lim Vichhey said that he supports the University in creating not only a football team, but also other sports teams because these activities help students to be healthy and bring prominence to sports in Cambodia.
Since the UC Football Team was established, it has participated in 30 tournaments, including friendship tournaments and the Challenge Cup Tournament. The last competition the team competed in was the Christian Cup, in which the UC Football Team won the qualifying round and took fourth place among 18 football teams. In addition, Leang Theara, a striker on the team, became the top scorer in that competition, and two other play makers, Long Vathana and Leang Theara, contributed to the team’s success. The team also earned a Fair Play Reward at the end of the competition.
The UC Football Team will compete in two more competitions; the Futsal Tournament will be held in April 2011 and the University Challenge Cup, in June 2011. The University would like to invite UC community members to show their support, and wishes the team the very best during these competitions.
Source: UC Bulletin March 2011, Page 20