Day one of the SEA Games football competition and indeed the SEA Games itself has finished and can rightly be described as a huge success. The stadium was full, Cambodia won the match and the masses were entertained. What though were the key takeaways from the first matches though?
Here are BPVE’s five key points we learned on day one of the SEA Games Football Competition
Cambodia are playing to win
The national team under Honda have regularly flattered to deceive, most recently in the AFF Under 22 Championship. There they failed to get out of the group stage and lost to Timor-Leste, despite being the host nation.
Last night though Cambodia were strong and played great football. Anything less than a semi-final now would be seen as a failure and you have to at least be quietly confident we go through. Can Honda go out with a bang – or rather some metal (Gold, Silver, or Bronze accepted).
To read about Felix Dalmas getting the national team job click here.
Playing in the National Olympic Stadium was a genius move
OK, so we might have The Morodok Techo mega-beast, but it’s frankly too big and too out of the way. In the AFF Under 22 Championship it was embarrassing to see less than a few thousand fans turn up for matches at an 80,000 capacity stadium
Last night saw 14,500 for the first match and almost 30,000 for the Cambodia match. Not only that, but the stadium being “down town” meant we all got home relatively early and without having to deal with a Tuk-Tuk diver asking for a small fortune to drive you home.
Some might complain about the chairs, but the stadium looks, is comfortable and has what the Morodok lacked, a football, rather than corporate feel.
To read about GANEFO click here.
Home support for Cambodia is key
The atmosphere at the stadium was electric, with the Cambodian fans really doing themselves proud. The ultras were loud, the flag was HUGE and we even managed a few Mexican waves.
Home advantage should not be underestimated, particularly if we do advance to the later rounds.
Free tickets were a genius move
Making the tickets free ensured a full attendance and was more importantly for the most part ran extremely well.
Thankfully no one was touting and hopefully it will drive people to more events, such as women’s football. As the government said “Cambodians have already paid for the games”, now is the chance to enjoy them.
It was a great start to the SEA Games as a whole
There have been tournaments when teams, such as Cambodia did not even have a room the night before their opening match. Every team at the tournament did, the game was well managed and people had a great day out.
Yes there may well be some problems, but if day one was anything to go by then we can expect a great 2023 Cambodia SEA Games.
Cambodia will play their next match on May 2nd against The Philippines in a game where if they win they will all, but be assured a semi-final berth.
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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