Friday, October 26, 2012
Heading to oblivion
The official reasoning behind the decision is as follows: "The FFC wants to concentrate on building youth and grassroots programs (in the country)," with the statement also citing limited financial reach due to the ongoing construction of the country's new national football center in Bati. There is no mention of why the funds provided by FIFA towards the new football center, the sponsorship money from Metfone for the league competition as well as a myriad of other sponsorship deals, is not sufficient for the FFC to manage their finances, in such a way that allows the national team to fulfill even their most basic commitments. The lack of grassroots and youth development by the federation has been painfully obvious, so a commitment to that sounds laudable, but not at the expense of disbanding the national team. The national team is the pinnacle of football in any country - take that away and you leave a void that will be difficult to recover from. The response from online football fans is one of disbelief, an emotion I share. They have suffered in silence whilst the federation have overseen a slump in fortunes that reached an all-time low under South Korean coach Lee Tae-Hoon. The horror show continued in Laos a couple of weeks ago under the now-departed Hok Sochetra. The fans were looking forward to raising their spirits with an incoming new coach, but without any international matches to play, there's no reason to employ anyone, anytime soon. That in itself is a damning indictment of the federation.
The future certainly looks bleak. The SEA Games are at the end of 2013 in Myanmar. For Cambodia's U-23 team. For the senior national team, the next edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers is in 2014, whilst the next World Cup qualification competition is in 2015. We have no idea what the federation's plans are, as they rarely speak in public, let alone share their strategic plans for the future. It's a closed shop. They are a law unto themselves. They make decisions unilaterally, usually announce them at the last minute, and leave everyone else to pick up the pieces. In this instance, they have swiped the carpet from under the feet of every football fan in the country, without any reasoning that holds water. I fear for the game of football in Cambodia if this situation continues.