Established in 2015, KMH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE bring together some of the best football teams/clubs from the major football leagues across Phnom Penh City and nationwide.
With 32 teams competing over 8 months each season, in a short time the KMH Champions League has become one of the best run andcompetitive leagues in Cambodia. When HFCA was offered the opportunity to take the 32nd and last place in the league we grabbed it.
(L to R) HFCA's Vibol Chao, HFCA player Rithy Chan and KMH Champions League Founder Kang Sen. Picture P Grogran
HFCA senior coach and former Homeless World Cup star Sophondara Chan knows his football and is fully aware of the huge challenge that lays ahead. A Roy Keane type character on and off the field. From the streets of Phnom Penh he is as hard as nails and speaks his mind. "We have had no pre season, never played as a team together and are not fit" was his assessment of the team chances of winning a lot of games!
Sophondara Chan playing for Cambodia against Ireland in Mexico City in 2012. Picture P Grogran
When asked if we should have waited to enter this league in the 2018/2019 season he stated "No lets enter now" was his answer "We will learn a lot, get fit and this is the first chance for HFCA players who have attended the Homeless World Cup to play in a proper league." Sophondara is excited about playing at such a high level and everyone at HFCA cant wait to see what he and his team mates can achieve.
HFCA's Vibol Chao with our team Captain Monira Men after he signed for the team. Picture P Grogran
Its taken HFCA nearly 12 years to realise this dream. To pull together all our former Homeless World Cup players and build a football club which represents the goals and aims of our organization which is to work with some of the most disadvantaged youth in Cambodia and give them a world class program and world class opportunities. Now our dream has come true as we enter a team in one of the most professional leagues in Cambodia.
Our HFCA Football Club model is partly based on the Spanish La Liga club Athletic Bilbao player signing policy. Athletic Bilbao have a long standing club policy of only signing players from the Basque region of Spain from where they are based since 1898. They are the only team in the 98 professional teams competing in the top five European leagues of Spain, Germany, Italy, France and England who operate such a policy.
HFCA Football Club are committed to only ever using Cambodian players. 100% of our team players have to be:
former HFCA program participants from our junior coaching system
former Homeless World Cup players who have represented Cambodia on the international stage
Whilst HFCA have nothing but the utmost respect for the other 31 teams in the KMH Champions League and have zero issue with them signing foreign players or signing players from other leagues or teams we want to ensure players from our youth program can play at the highest level hence our policy.
At present taking into account this HFCA policy we can only use 57 players who qualify using the selection criteria. Its a small talent pool. This may hurt us in how we perform in the KMH Champions league but we will not waiver from our beliefs.
HFCA FC first team meeting on Sunday the 28th of October. 18 players attended this historic meeting. Picture P Grogan.
Kang Sen, Founder of KMH Champions League said, "We are very delighted to have HFCA competing in our tournament this season. For more than ten years, HFCA has been providing homeless kids who love football opportunities to see the world while competing among international team. From homeless conditions to competing at international stage must have been enriching experience for the kids, providing them hopes that life ahead can be full of opportunities if they are determined, disciplined and never ever lose hopes."
"HFCA and KMH Foundation share the same belief that playing football not only can help deviate the kids from harmful environmental, improve their health-being, most importantly increase their mental strength which are all the basic for healthy life and help them becoming a constructive member of society. We hope KMH Champions league will be a place all HFCA footballers to reunion and come together to do what they love most. We look forward to warmly welcoming them and witnessing their talent in football."
Thanks to the KMH Champions League main sponsors ISI Group and Pisnoka International Corporation