Cheering Khmer in Norway Cup

Earthwalkers Fund Cambodia was established by the Norwegian who owned Earthwalkers Guesthouse in Siem Reap. They called themselves a non-governmental and non-political fund. The Fund aims to promote education, health, development and peace. One of the projects of the Fund is to bring a youth team from Cambodia to participate in the international youth football tournament Norway Cup 2006.
Project Manager Kristin Holdo Hansen must have been doing such a hard work to get out of all the boy’s potential to compete with the other 42 nations teams.
“The team has been training about 5 days a week with a Swedish trainer Christian Larsson and one Khmer trainer Rita,” says Kristin. And when eveything is prepared then the trip is started.
‘A bit nervous and very curious they left the Sangkheum center for Children (of course with all the rest of the children and staff from the center coming along to wave goodbye). It was a tearful goodbye from “grandma”, the cook at the Center that makes sure all the Children are being well looked after and behave,’ noted one of staffs.

Arrival in Norway
After a long trip, the kids arrived a bit jet lagged and tired but soon replaced with curiosity for everything in the new country. Sandefjord is the first visiting place where they spent first week. Fredrik Thorsen, Vice Captain of Sandefjord Fotball, the selected friendship team came to greet the boys and to distribute nicely made team jackets and warm clothes.
Staying in football camping, the kids got to warm up with a training together with Sandefjord Fotboll. The eastern team took their challenge with the opponents for the friendly game was a mixed team from Runar, Sandefjord. The team was a little bit older……..and a lot taller. After a nervous start and a lot of laughs from both teams the game finished with a win for the Norwegian all star team. Tired and happy for the premier we enjoyed khmer style food at the hotel.

A Playful Battle
After a weeks warm-up the kids got excited to move on to the Norway Cup. For the first time ever the Cambodian flag was blowing among other 39 flags from different nationalities in the wind on the Norway Cup field. The first day of the tournament is opened with a magnificent parade that passes through the main football field areas. There were some crazy Scandinavians and 20 happy Khmers in as 3rd team in the parade.
In its staff’s note it said about the game that: ‘The first game was a nervous beginning against a very good team. It ended with a loss of…, but no sad faces here. In the second game the kids had gained some confident and gave everything. The game ended with a loss of 4-1.The scoring of one goal and actually realizing it is possible to play against people who were taller and bigger than themselves changed the picture a lot. They entered the third game with great confidence and the game finished 1-1. Through the whole tournament they gave everything at every moment of play and went tired and happy of the field knowing they did so.’
Project Coordinator Christian Larsson writes to ScandAsia that when coming back to Cambodia, the boys have promised Earthwalkers to give what they get back to the local community they abide in. They have projects to promote and make awareness on environmental campaign to clean the river for a day, making placards “Keep the River Clean” along the river side, for example.
Besides, everyone in the team will have one exposed camera to capture their own impression of this grand trip experiences during 3 weeks in Norway and Sweden. All photos will be exhibited in Siem Reap after they will be back home to share what they have got with others who do not have that kind of chance.
Last but not least, Team Sangkheum and ticket to Norway cup can be good example and motivation for other children in the next future that they also can get this good opportunity as well.

Earthwalkers Fund Cambodia
No 0653 Wat Bo Road
Siem Reap
Kingdom of Cambodia
Phone no +855(0) 63 963 854
Cellphone no +855(0) 92 228 964

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