The Volleyball Federation of Cambodia (VFC) is expanding its international outreach efforts ahead of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2023 and has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Cambodian-American Sports Association and established cooperation plans with the French Volleyball Federation (FFVB).
These agreements pave the way for holding an international friendly or exhibition tournament in the future, especially with the decision to select some women athletes living abroad for the Cambodian women’s national team in preparation for Cambodia playing host to the SEA Games next year.
VFC secretary-general Aing Serey Piseth said the agreements with the US and French teams will give the Cambodian side more opportunities to develop their ability to win gold medals at next year’s games.
“As we are now engaged in cultural exchanges with countries around the world in sports, that’s a new step but it’s part of the VFC’s master plan ... We want to achieve success and greatness and we want to make countries in the region as well as the world recognise us,” he said.
According to Piseth, the VFC held a video-conference meeting with their French counterparts on October 27. The meeting included FFVB president Eric Tanguy, Cambodian ambassador to France Ket Sophann and National Police chief Neth Savoeun, who also serves as VFC president.
Piseth told The Post that the meeting achieved good results with Savoeun proposing that the French national volleyball team level A or B or a professional team in France travel to Cambodia for international friendlies, and Cambodia would also send its players to France for such matches.
“I believe my compatriots know that France is a volleyball power and, if I remember correctly, they rank third in the world. So no matter what age the team is, their quality is going to be a bit overwhelming for us given that Cambodia is ranked at 141, but the international friendly between the teams representing these two countries will materialise in the near future,” he confirmed.
The MoU between the VFC and the Cambodian-American Sports Association was agreed to via video-conference on October 28, with the VFC requesting that the latter help Cambodia establish a women’s beach volleyball tournament.
“We’ve never had a women’s beach volleyball team in Cambodia. Mostly that is related to the traditional culture for us and in some other ASEAN countries, too. It is considered inappropriate to play while wearing bikinis so the event is not organised by anyone.
“I believe that our culture and civilisation must be preserved, but in a globalised world we should not be too conservative either. In a sense, it must be preserved but we must also continue to develop,” Piseth said.
At the same time, the VFC also asked the association to help find indoor female volleyball athletes of Cambodian heritage living abroad to participate in the competition and represent the Kingdom as currently the VFC has only selected 14 athletes to train in China. Previously, he noted, Cambodia had never formed a women’s national team to compete with foreign countries.
“Honestly, our quality is still very low because our women’s volleyball competition is not as diverse as the men’s. So we request that our Cambodian compatriots living in other countries who are good athletes and have talent and are perhaps playing for their local university or even high school please come and represent Cambodia with the 14 players we just recruited,” he said.
The association will be selecting the players living in the US who are willing to represent Cambodia at the 32nd SEA Games, and Piseth is confident that they will select good quality athletes. There will also be an international friendly organised in the future.
“I have requested that the US do the same as we have requested of the FFVB and we have asked the US volleyball team to come and play in Cambodia or we will fly from Cambodia to compete in the US. So when there are more such international competitions, we can strengthen the foundation of our players even further,” Piseth said.