The regional qualifiers for the national football knockout competition of Cambodia kicked off again this weekend under the backdrop of football at the SEA Games. What though are its origins and indeed what is the history of the Hun Sen Cup?
To read about Cambodia losing to Myanmar click here.
What is the Hun Sen Cup?
Quite simply the main football knockout competition within Cambodia and one that is technically at least open to and can be won by any football club within Cambodia.
Unlike the Cambodian Premier League there are no licensing requirements and indeed it has been used as a stepping stone by many small clubs making the transition to the professional ranks.
Currently the tournament starts in around March and while usually finishing in November, will as of 2023-24 finish early in the following year as part of the rescheduling of Cambodian football.
To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here
How important is the Hun Sen Cup?
The Hun Sen Cup is considered the second most prestigious football tournament in Cambodia after the CPL, withe winner playing the league winners in the newly revamped Cambodian Super Cup.
With it being split into regional leagues it is also not only the only truly national competition, but also acts as the next stage down in the Cambodian football pyramid as a de-facto tier 3 after the CPL and Cambodian Second Division.
Where is the Hun Sen Cup Final held?
There os no fixed venue for the final, although the Smart RSN stadium of Phnom Penh Crown has been used over the last few years. It is likely that the Prince Stadium of Visakha may be used in future, assuming they do not reach the final.
Many also hope that future finals may be held at the National Olympic Stadium, particularly after it has now been renovated.
To read about the National Olympic Stadium click here.
What is the format of the Hun Sen Cup?
The first part is the “group stage”, this is done on a league basis and regionally. Qualifiers then play in a knock out round to see which non-league clubs will join those of CPL 2 and CPL 1 in the final rounds.
In the end it goes down to regular quarter and semi-finals, before the grand final which is a one match affair. Should the final be drawn it goes into extra time and penalties.
What is the history of the Dun Sen Cup?
Originally established in 2007 the competition is named after the current Prime-Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, with the full title of the competition being the Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen Cup.
Previously no foreign players were permitted to take part of the competition, although this rule has been abolished as of the 2023-24 season.
The first edition of the competition featured 28 teams, which rose to 35 in 2022. PKR Svay Rieng are the most successful team in the forty of the cup winning 4 times. The recent history of the Hun Sen Cup has been dominated by Visakha Football Club who have won the cup a record 3 times in a row.
List of Winners of the Hun Sen Cup
2007 – Khemara Keila FC 1 Nagacorp (Nagaworld) 1 (4-2p)
2008 – Phnom Penh Empire (Phnom Penh Crown) 1 PKR Svay Rieng 0
2009 – Phnom Penh Crown 1 Nagaworld 0
2010 – National Defense (Army) 3 Phnom Penh Crown 2
2011 – PKR Svay Rieng 2 Build Bright United 0
2012 – PKR Svay Rieng 2 Nagaworld 1 (AET)
2013 – Nagaworld 0 National Defence (Army) 0 (5-3p)
2014 – National Police 2 Build Bright United 0
2015 – PKR Svay Rieng 2 Nagaworld 0
2016 – National Defense 1 PKY Svay Rieng 1 (6-5p)
2017 – PKR Svay Rieng 3 Nagaworld 0
2018 – Tiffy Army (National Defense) 3 National Police 0
2019 -Boeung Ket 1 PKR Svay Rieng 1 (5-4p_
2020 -Visakha FC 2 Nagaworld 0
2021 – Visakha FC 2 PKR Svay Rieng 2 (5-4p)
2022 – Visakha 4 Boeung Ket 3 (AET)
Performance by club
PKR Svay Rieng Winners
Winners 2011, 2012, 2015,, 2017
Runner-up – 2008, 2016, 2019, 2021
Winners 2010, 0216, 2018
Runner-up – 2013
Winner 2019, 2020, 2021
Phnom Penh Crown
Winners 2008, 2009
Runners-up 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020
Khemara Keila FC
Build Bright United
Runners-up 2011, 2014
Note – Khemara Keila FC and Build Bright United FC are no longer I’m operation. Some clubs have won the trophy under a` different name to their current incarnation.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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