Football Stars of the Future
By Lorraine Harding
Creating a team for the Asia Games
Cellcard is a Cambodian based mobile phone service provider, which is helping make big strides in sport and giving young Cambodians the chance to become football stars of the future.
In 2023 the Southeast Asia Games will be held in Phnom Penh (the capital of Cambodia) and strong efforts are being made to form a competitive team.
With 6 years before the games are to be held, Cellcard is helping to set up football academies all throughout Cambodia. This is in the hope to discover young talent and build up a strong team for this upcoming, greatly anticipated event.
Cellcard has just entered a new partnership with the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), which will see football academies open up in every province in the country by the middle of next year.
Mr. Ian Watson Chief Executive Officer of Cellcard, describes the partnership with the FFC as a boost to the sport in communities and schools nationwide.
“By focusing on football, we are providing players, families and communities with a healthy and entertaining way to unite and celebrate excellence.” Mr. Watson said.
This revolutionary new move is intended to develop the sport nationally and provide Cambodians with access to professional training. Cellcard executives have been focusing on addressing Cambodia’s most pressing needs and is one of the forerunners in leading the way for a larger commitment to further corporate/social responsibility.
“Cellcard has loyal employees” Mr. Watson goes on to say. “This is a result of providing a workplace that nurtures creativity, optimism, confidence and a high level of participation.” With the help of his staff and the broader community, he believes that news of the opening football academies will spread, even to areas that are more remote – where everyone is offered an opportunity.
Cambodians have a great love for football and executives at Cellcard have been working on this initiative for the past year. Believing that sport has many positive benefits and the new football academies could have a far reaching impact on the individual, schools and communities.
In 2015, legendary football stars like David Beckham visited Cambodia as Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, which has promoted the sport within the country. The aim now is to create a competitive side for the upcoming games, sourcing our raw Cambodian talent.
Mr Watson believes the new soccer academies will provide facilities and coaching that will allow youth to develop their potential, foster team spirit, self-discipline, increasing social solidarity and pride in all 25 provinces.
This is an important step forward for Cambodia because it was not long ago that this country was decimated by war. Now 20 years on, companies like Cellcard are not only providing communication networks to help bring people closer together – but they are also heavily invested in the community with other projects in the pipeline.
With the advent of the new academies that are being instituted, this is a big step forward in uniting the country with a common passion shared by many.
“Our aim is to see the rise of provincial teams across Cambodia and to see Cambodia outperform our neighbors in a competitive tournament such as the Southeast Asia Games,” Mr. Wilson said.
There are few countries that have developed as remarkably as Cambodia over the past 20 years and Mr. Wilson and executives at Cellcard are keen to contribute – optimistic about a bright future for the next generation to come.