Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local footballer praised for community action

Local footballer praised for community action

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tith Sovannara coaches a group of children as part of his project called ‘Play to Progress’. Photo supplied

Local footballer praised for community action

Putting an index finger on his lips as a shush sign before giving instructions for a football training, Tith Sovannara, 23, stood among a group of children in a school compound, telling them to pass the ball to their female counterparts before attempting to score a goal.

“Each team must have female and male members. Before striking the ball into the opponents’ goal, each female and male member must pass it to each other first."

“A male cannot pass the ball to another male to score a goal,” said Sovannara, who currently lives in a temporary shelter in the Boeung Kak area, notorious for gambling and drugs."

The team is part of the “Play to Progress” project Sovannara created earlier this year. The project aims to raise awareness of social issues and promote gender equality in sports among children living in communities that rarely have an opportunity to play sports.

A compulsive gambler turned sports enthusiast, Sovannara said: “I love football but it is not more important than giving an opportunity to poor children to develop themselves.

“That’s my dream. Sport is a vehicle that takes me to success. Sport is an effective choice for me and now it is also effective for others.”

Starting from scratch with his own scarce resources and assistance from friends, this player in a semi-professional team that just won the KMH Champions League, has been chosen as a candidate to compete in the 10th Beyond Sport Foundation in New York on September 12-13.

As the first ever Cambodian candidate among 400 others from 33 countries, Sovannara says: “It is a great success that these children understand and develop themselves.

“I still continue with my daily work as usual, but I hope to continue developing the “Play to Progress” project. I am proud to have been selected to participate in the international competition.”

Under the theme “Promoting Health and Well-being through Inclusive Sports, “Play to Progress”, which has been in operation for six months, has conducted six training courses in Kampot, Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces and Phnom Penh.

Aiming to reach out to more underprivileged children across the country, Sovannara says: “There are many ways philanthropists can help us.

“If you know of any communities in any provinces where children can’t afford football kits, I will be more than willing to help. Everyone can help with the finance and be a volunteer in the program via www.facebook.com/playtoprogess”.

Beyond Sport Foundation is a charity that celebrates, supports, raises awareness and provides funding for institutions using sports to help make the UN Sustainable Development Goal a reality.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon