Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Mind the dog-shit
It's that time of year again when I get intensely annoyed that this player or 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 and involves 24 teams from higher educational institutions, technical colleges and provincial teacher training centers. I'm told it starts this week. I've written about this before, and here's what I've said previously. 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 and tiredness, playing on ill-kept pitches covered in dog-shit, etc, in the middle of the C-League season. I am gob-smacked that this is allowed to happen. I believe it's tied to getting a scholarship to study at a particular university. However, the idea of contracted professionals essentially being forced to represent their university, or else they may lose their study place, is nonsensical in the extreme to anyone that has an inkling of what professional sport is all about. In my view, this has got to stop, players must not be forced to play these farcical matches or else it will continue to devalue the 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. If the question is about funding the individual's further education, then that is something he should build-in as part of his professional contract, or pay the university study fees himself. Both the clubs and the football federation have got to be much stronger on this. Bottom line, no contracted player should be allowed to do it. This is a perfect example of where Cambodian football needs to step up into a new era of professionalism.