Saturday, September 1, 2007

Two rising stars - Keo Sokngon & Kith Meng carried an interview with one of Cambodia's rising young sportsmen today. Popular throughout the country, organised football in Cambodia is still very much in its infancy, but this young man is determined to make a difference. Here's the interview:

Cambodia's Rising Star Keo Sokngon
Lethal with both feet, Keo Sokngon is the captain of the Cambodian national Under-17 team where his hard work has proven to be inspiration to his team. And while the goals might not have been free-flowing as he would have liked, there is no doubt that striker Sokngon is the rising star of Cambodian football.

Tell us a little bit about where you are from?
I was born in Kratie province which is located some 300km away from the capital city of Phnom Penh. And from there I started to play football first with the schools before I was spotted to play here in the city.
How old were you when you first started playing football?
I was six-years-old then and the reason why I chose football was because of all the games which I've played, I love football the most.
Your first team?
Roka Kandal School. I've never played for the national age-group teams for Cambodia before. This Under-17 team is my first national team assignment in an international competition.
Who do you play for at the moment?
Previously, I played for the Kratie Province Football club – before they changed the name to Moha Garuda FC - I've been with them since I was 15-years-old. The team is currently playing in the Cambodian Second League where we are all looking forward to playing in the higher Cambodian Premier League in 2008.
How many goals have you scored for Moha Garuda FC? A: I've scored 18 goals from 13 matches. Q: Have you always played as a striker?
Always – I like to score goals and of course, I've been told that it is my natural position.
Who do you fashioned your playing style after?
Thierry Henry. I feel that we have a similar built and I like the way he moves forward.
What do you think of Cambodian football at the moment?
Cambodian football is developing. The level is higher than before. So there is a lot of excitement for the future. The football management currently (in the Football Federation of Cambodia) is working very hard for the game to grow further and in the right direction.
Do you harbour any thoughts of playing abroad some day?
Of course – it is the ambition of any footballer to hone their skills to the highest level. I would like to change clubs to get more experience and high level competition. But more that importantly, I would like to join clubs with good coaches.
Where do you think you would like to go?
Vietnam for the V-League. The standard is higher than it is in Cambodia. Perhaps given the opportunity, I hope to play for Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) some day.
Now that you part of the Cambodian national Under-17 team, do you have any intention of playing for the senior Cambodian national team?
Of course, I would like to be part of the Cambodian national team for the Asean Football Championship qualifiers next year. I don't think that it will be hard to fit in though because the older players in the team will guide me through.
What do you think of Cambodia's chances for the qualifiers of the Asean Football Championship next year?
It will not be easy for sure but I believe that we can be competitive.
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Another rising star in Cambodia, but in a very different field, is Kith Meng. He's seen as the bold new face of Cambodian capitalism. Widely considered the country's richest entrepreneur, the Sino-Khmer businessman presides over a sprawling business empire held under his Royal Group of Companies which has leveraged into and helped drive Cambodia's recent economic boom. For an in-depth view of Kith Meng and his rise to become one of Cambodia's most important businessmen with controlling stakes in key areas of commerce, read Shawn Crispin's article at Asia Times online here.


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