It was a day of fun and camaraderie as Emirates in collaboration with Happy Football Cambodia Australia (HFCA), organised a friendly match among underprivileged children from the HFCA Academy in Phnom Penh on Saturday the 7th of December. In addition to promoting a sense of community, Emirates provided one lucky aspiring football player with the opportunity to travel to Dubai to experience a professional football tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
The event also included an exclusive meet and greet session with renowned Cambodian footballer Prak Mony Udom. Udom, was voted player of the year in Cambodian in 2017, and has won two Cambodian Premier League titles with his team Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng, as well as four Hun Sen Cups (Cambodia's version of the FA Cup). With close to 60 Caps for the Cambodian National team and 10 goals he is considered one of the stars of the team currently playing in the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
(L to R) Emirates’ Country Manager for Cambodia, Mr. Talal Al Gergawi, HFCA's Seng Saray, winner of Emirates all expenses paid trip to Dubai, and Prak Mony Udom. Image Supplied.
Udom shared his personal tips on football skills and techniques to the HFCA players and also participated in the friendly match as a referee. The game was organised by Emirates with the aim of playing a role in the local community through sports
“I am delighted to be able to share my personal experience and pass on my knowledge of football to a new generation of Cambodian players,” said Udom. “Football is one of greatest uniting forces in the world, and I am very proud of the way the youth performed today. I am grateful to Emirates for undertaking this initiative and hope that they will continue to do more to help these youth chase their dreams and achieve their ambitions, including representing Cambodia internationally someday.”
Prak Mony Udom is a superstar in Cambodia and many media outlets showed up to the event. Image HFCA.
In providing a meaningful opportunity to the participating youth and to reward them for their skills, Emirates chose the Best Player of the match and presented a once-in-a- lifetime experience to fly with the airline to Dubai as well as the opportunity to watch one of the games in the UAE Arabian Gulf League. The winning team and participating players were all provided with tokens of appreciation for taking part in the initiative.
Emirates’ Country Manager for Cambodia, Mr. Talal Al Gergawi, said, “Emirates is honoured to have organized this friendly match and we aim to do more to help disadvantaged youth pursue their passions. Football is a very popular sport which touches the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds so we are proud to drive such an initiative. We hope that Saray SENG, today’s best player, will be able to enjoy a world-class travel experience to our global hub in Dubai, in addition to benefiting from the opportunity to watch one of the games in the UAE Arabian
Mr. Talal Al Gergawi continued“At Emirates, we take pride in bringing the world closer to one’s passion and this initiative has exemplified our commitment towards this goal. We also thank all of the participants in this match and wish to express our sincere gratitude to HCFA for making this possible.”
Two HFCA teams compete with Udom watching on before selecting a winner. Image Claire Seang.
For years, football has been an important component of Emirates’ sponsorship portfolio and the airline has become one of the most prominent brands within the sport. The airline’s portfolio of football partnerships currently include leading teams such as Arsenal, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Benfica, Hamburger SV, and Olympiacos. Emirates also supports tournaments and football governing bodies such as the Emirates FA Cup, Arabian Gulf League and the Asian Football Confederation.
Emirates offers daily service between Phnom Penh and Dubai via Bangkok, connecting passengers between the capital cities of Cambodia and Thailand through a convenient one-and-a-half-hour flight, which then connects travellers from Cambodia to the airline’s global hub in Dubai. Emirates provides travellers with direct connections to more than 150 destinations in 85 countries and territories; including 43 destinations in Europe, over 20 destinations in Africa, 50 destinations in Asia and the Pacific, 13 in the Middle East and 17 in the Americas.