Friday, January 3, 2014

For the love of money

The face of Suon Noeut is hidden by the monetary reward for collecting the Top Goalscorer trophy
Youth football around the world is about playing for the love of the game, striving to be the best you can be and if you are good enough, you may just be lucky to make a career in the game later on. It's not about money. However, that appears to be the carrot dangled in front of football players, young and old, in this region. Take the football federation's Cambodia Youth League as an example. Last week's two finals, at U-15 and U-17 age-group levels and both won by the Phnom Penh Crown Academy teams, included the presentation of the trophy and medals, as well as awards for most valuable player, etc. In many countries, those awards/trophies are sufficient. Last Sunday however, they were accompanied by monetary rewards too. An outcome that I really don't agree with. Rewarding success with money is something that will follow when the youngsters are adults, it shouldn't be a carrot when they are young and impressionable. It sends out the wrong message about winning = money at a young age. Passion for the game and a desire to succeed should be uppermost in the minds of the best youngsters, not the cash rewards they can get. Okay, we are not talking big bucks from last weekend's finals, but it's really the principle. In both age groups, the individual awards for Top Goalscorer, Most Valuable Player and Best Goalkeeper all were given 200,000 riel ($50), the Best Coach received 400,000 ($100) and the Fair Play Award collected 1,000,000 riel ($250). For winning the Championship, Crown received 5,000,000 riel ($1,250) for each of the U-15 and U-17 teams. The individual rewards were not given to the Academy U-15s top scorer Suon Noeut, or MVP's Orn Chanpolin or Noeut or best keepers, Keo Soksela and Kong Rafat. Instead, the cash was put into the kitty and used on the Academy's weekend away on the south coast in Sihanoukville and Kep. Shared and enjoyed by all as a reward for a fantastic team effort.

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