The plan for this trip started whilst I was still in England. Andy messaged me saying there was a possibility of us going to a province and coaching and he asked if that was what I was interested in doing with Football for Kampuchea. We agreed that it would be an fantastic opportunity to expand and grow as a charity and extend our reach to more than just Phnom Penh. When I arrived it was a matter of picking a weekend and waiting for confirmation from our contact there; Nathan Martin.
As the weekend of the 18th August crept slowly closer it was a matter of transportation to get there, the guesthouse was booked, the pitch was booked, the equipment was ready it was an issue of getting the two final pieces of the puzzle to the province. Now, we had looked at renting a car and had been quoted ridiculous prices so we were really tense about how to get all our equipment and Star Balm gifts to the province considering it is a way away we didn’t want to go in a khmer van with the potential for breakages or losses.
Then the star man, Nathan Martin offered to pick us up from Phnom Penh in his car and then drive us back to the province. We couldn’t believe it! This is a 9 hour round trip! We could not be more grateful to Nathan for doing this. The ride went off without a hitch; we had dinner and went to bed with hope in our hearts for a great full day of coaching the next day.
After a lovely breakfast with Nathan’s family, we made our way down to the pitch for our first two sessions of the day of u-9s and then u-15s after that. The sessions were perfect, Andy led them to a tee and the players all certainly enjoyed them as you will see in the photo’s below. The sessions were in keeping with our aims of fun and yet filled with learning and technical skills. We handed out our gifts and took photos and told them we’d be back. We went back to the hotel, had a shower and changed our shirts and then went to have a wonderful lunch with Nathan’s family cooked by his wife. Once more, we couldn’t be more grateful for how they welcomed us into their home.
After lunch, it was back to the pitch for the last two sessions with 16+. These sessions were led by me, again with an aim of fun based learning and we reckon the targets were hit with that as you can see in the photos. The day was over far too quickly and we said our goodbyes and wishes of good luck to them in their exams on the 21st and 22nd. We then thanked the pitch owner and Nathan for all their help and bundled ourselves into a rented car with a driver and made the long journey back to Phnom Penh, ready for a Sunday morning session back with the players.
All in all, it was a very successful weekend for Football for Kampuchea and the children in Snoul province. Football for Kampuchea thanks Nathan Martin and his family for all their help and Star Balm for the gifts.
In other news, the team F4K coaches on a Friday reached the quarter finals of the league they were in went 1-0 up thanks to a cracking free kick and then second half lost their heads and went 3-1 down. They probably thought they were already in the semi final and lost focus. Anyhow, we will carry on until the next league. Congratulations to the lads for reaching the quarter finals though!
See you on the next one.