The New Dawn has finally arrived for Cambodian football. Hallelujah. The great and the good gathered at the brand new national football center in Tonle Bati this morning to congratulate each other on this latest venture, costing over $2.2million and intended to be the start of Cambodia's entry into developing their football players of the future. It's been a long time coming but its finally arrived, aided in no small part by a $1.3million cheque from the FIFA Goal Project, a shed-load of cash from the Football Federation's own coffers, as well as individual contributions from wealthy supporters and an unknown amount from the Hoang Anh Gia Lai property development company from Vietnam. The new training center consists of the following, taken from the speech of the Prime Minister, Hun Sen who officially unveiled the center earlier today: "... 15-hectare-land consists of 3 dormitory buildings for senior team players, 63 dormitory buildings for academy players, 1 administration building, 1 cafeteria, 2 uniform-changing halls, 1 generator-storage building, clean-water-purifying system, electrical network, 4 standard-size pitches, concrete routes and 2,885m of rain drainage, 1600m of boundary fences...". Also in attendance were the top men in Asian football including the Presidents of AFC and AFF. The center itself will house the Federation's intended new Academy, though there's no date for when that will start. The formalities were followed by a friendly match between the Cambodian U-16 national team and opponents from the HAGL Arsenal JMG Academy in Vietnam, which the visitors won 3-0. They were older and much bigger, it was a mismatch, I'm informed.
Yesterday, the FFC held a press conference to announce the latest version of the BIDC Cup. It will take place in November with teams from six regional countries, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and China as well as two teams from Japan. Exact details were sketchy aside from the $120,000 that's being invested in the competition by the BIDC sponsors. In 2011 the tournament was known as the Mekong Region Youth U21 International Football Tournament BIDC Cup 2011, which was MRYUIFTBIDCC for short.