Thursday, March 8, 2012
International recognition is on the horizon for some of Phnom Penh Crown's Academy youngsters in the near future. The AFC's annual Festival of Football provides an opportunity for U-14 players from countries across Asia to develop their talents and compare themselves to same age players from neighboring countries. Over 1,000 boys from 46 AFC member associations participate annually at the five AFC regional festivals, to be held this year in Qatar (west region), Pakistan (central), China (east), Nepal (south) and Malaysia (Asean region). The squad of U-14 players selected to represent Cambodia will take part in the Malaysia edition, scheduled for 21 May until 3 June, when they will come up against 11 other nations including Australia, Vietnam, Thailand as well as hosts Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Quite a formidable line-up for the youngsters. The festival, which focuses more on learning and development than competition and results, began in 2004 and has already seen many of the youngsters who took part, go onto play in youth World Cups and the FIFA World Cup. They also offer a great opportunity to bring together young aspiring players, coaches, referees, physiotherapists and Associations' administrators, so they gain further knowledge, experiences and share other cultures. The Cambodia squad will be selected from teams like Crown and Preah Khan Reach as well as organizations involved in the weekly ISF championships over the coming two months in preparation for the tournament in late May.