A new domestic football tournament, the Cambodian League Cup – which is managed and organised by the Football Federation of Cambodia – will officially kick off its first round on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
The 2022 Cambodian League Cup, being held for the first time, will become the main forum for teams playing in the Cambodian Premier League and those in League 2 to compete against each other. The cup is aimed at giving opportunities to players who were not called up for the national team at the 2022 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Vietnam, and includes teams from both leagues, giving them the chance to get valuable playing time during the almost month-long international break.
The eight teams who play in the Cambodian top tier league will all join, along with eight of the 12 League 2 sides, as Asia Euro United FC, Soltilo Angkor FC, Tboung Khmum FA and Banteay Meanchey FC have elected not to participate.
The rules of the tournament are that each team can register 18 to 30 players who are at least 16 years old. They may also use their U-18 teams, provided their teams do not play against the schedule of the football federation. Each team is allowed to register up to five foreign players, but can allow only four on the field.
The 16 teams have been divided into four groups; with two Premier League and two League 2 clubs joining each group.
Decided by an April 20 group draw – overseen by Cambodian Premier League CEO Satoshi Saito – Group A features NagaWorld, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey, Koh Kong FC and ISI Dangkor Sen Chey. Group B consists of Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng, Tiffy Army, Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) and Siem Reap FC. Boeung Ket, Phnom Penh Crown, National Police and National Football Academy make up Group C, while Group D features Visakha, Angkor Tiger, Prey Veng FC and Next Step FC.
The formula of the competition dictates that these 16 teams will play qualifying rounds in their respective groups, with the first and second place teams from the four groups going through to a knockout stage, which will determine the final four. Semi-final winners will advance to the final. The opening matches this weekend all feature interesting matchups between Premier League sides and their League 2 counterparts.
NagaWorld v ISI Dangkor Sen Chey at Asia Europe Stadium – 3.45pm
Kirivong v Koh Kong at Kirivong Sok Sen Chey Stadium – 3.45pm
Svay Rieng v Siem Reap at Svay Rieng Stadium – 6.30pm
Troops v Electricité du Cambodge at Old Stadium – 6.30pm
Boeung Ket v National Football Academy at Cambodia Airways Stadium – 3.45pm
Angkor Tiger v Prey Veng at Hanuman Stadium – 3.45pm
Phnom Penh Crown v National Police at Smart RSN Stadium – 6.30pm
Visakha v Next Step at Prince Stadium – 6.30pm