Friday, July 1, 2011

On my soapbox

I get very annoyed when I hear that this player and that player is playing for a university team in the local educational institutions cup competition in Cambodia. I think it's called the National Football Championships involving 24 teams from higher educational institutions, technical colleges and provincial teacher training centers. What we have is the ridiculous situation that a lot of the country's very best players, even those in the Cambodian national team, are turning out in mickey mouse games for various university teams, risking injury, playing on ill-kept pitches covered in dog-shit, etc, in the middle of the C-League season. I am gob-smacked at the sheer contempt this shows for the profession of a professional footballer. I believe it's tied to getting a scholarship to study at a particular university, as well as bringing glory to the campus if the team is successful. However, the idea of contracted professionals being forced to represent their university, or else they may lose their study place, is abhorrent in the extreme to anyone that has an inkling of what professional sport is all about. In my eyes, this has got to stop, players must not be forced to play these farcical matches or else Cambodia will continue to devalue their own sport and their own professional league. Players on contracts can play for their club and their national teams and that's it. They can't go down the park and play with their mates, they can't play in futsal competitions and they can't play for PUC against AEU, or whatever these university teams are called. Both the clubs and the football federation have got to be very strong on this. That's it, the bottom line, no contracted player should be allowed to do it. End of story.

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