The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) stands as the authoritative body overseeing football and futsal in Cambodia. With its roots tracing back to 1933, it holds the distinction of being the oldest football federation in Southeast Asia. Affiliated with FIFA since 1953 and the AFC since 1954, the FFC manages an array of national competitions, as well as both the men’s and women’s national teams. This article aims to delve into the rich history, structural framework, and promising future of the FFC.
Exploring the Historical Trajectory
The FFC’s lineage can be traced back to its inception in 1933 under the moniker of the Indochinese Football Federation (FIF), unifying Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam during the era of French dominance. Participating in various editions of the Far Eastern Games and the Asian Games in the 1950s and 1960s, the federation gradually established its presence in the region.
In the wake of Cambodia’s independence in 1953, the FIF evolved into the Royal Khmer Football Federation (FRKF), obtaining memberships in FIFA and the AFC. The 1960s marked a golden period for the FRKF, witnessing the rise of exceptional players such as Hok Sochetra and Keo Sokha.
The political turmoil of subsequent years saw the FRKF undergo multiple name changes – from the Football Federation of the Khmer Republic (FFRK) during the Khmer Republic era to the People’s Khmer Football Federation (FPKF) during the reign of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). In the transitional phases of the State of Cambodia (EC) and the Kingdom of Cambodia (RC), the federation transformed into the Cambodian Football Federation (FCF) and, eventually, the Royal Cambodian Football Federation (FRCF).
Present-day Endeavors and Future Aspirations
In 2006, the FRCF adopted its current title, the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), maintaining its responsibility for organizing the national championship, national cup, and managing the national selections. Continuing its active involvement in the Southeast Asian Games and World Cup qualifiers, the FFC remains dedicated to the development and promotion of football within Cambodia.
Structure of the FFC: A Comprehensive Overview
At the helm of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) sits an executive committee comprising 15 members elected for a four-year term. General Sao Sokha, assuming office in 2006 and subsequently re-elected in 2010, 2014, and 2018, holds the prestigious position of President. Major General Khiev Sameth, elected in 2018, serves as the current Vice President. Notably, Keo Sareth has been fulfilling the role of Secretary General since 2018, while Kazunori Ohara, appointed in 2019, serves as the current Technical Director.
With a vast membership base of approximately 230,000, the FFC is divided into 25 provincial associations. The bustling heart of Cambodian football, the national football center situated in Phnom Penh, boasts the impressive Morodok Techo National Stadium, with a capacity of 75,000 seats, inaugurated in 2017.
The FFC’s vibrant organizational framework includes an array of competitions, namely:
- The Cambodian Premier League, involving 8 professional clubs.
- The Hun Sen Cup, open to both first and second division clubs, as well as provincial teams.
- The Cambodia Second League, hosting 12 semi-professional clubs.
- The Cambodia Futsal League, with participation from 10 clubs.
- The Cambodia Women’s League, engaging 8 clubs in exhilarating matches.
In addition, the FFC oversees the progression of various national teams, including:
- The Koupreys, Cambodia’s Men’s National Team, actively participating in the World Cup, Asian Cup, and Southeast Asian Games qualifiers. Félix Dalmás has been leading the team as the current coach since 2019, with Soeuy Visal serving as the dedicated captain.
- The Angkor Queens, Cambodia’s Women’s National Team, fervently competing in the World Cup, Asian Cup, and Southeast Asian Games qualifiers under the guidance of coach Prak Vuthy, appointed in 2019. Chhin Chhoeun captains the team, which achieved its best FIFA ranking of 119th in March 2023 and secured a remarkable third-place finish at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
- The Koupreys Futsal, Cambodia’s national futsal team, actively engaging in the World Cup, Asian Cup, and Southeast Asian Games qualifiers. Under the leadership of coach Bun Hoeurn Tuy since 2019, Nop David leads the team as the current captain. The team attained its highest FIFA ranking of 137th in April 2023 and achieved a commendable fourth-place finish at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.