Tottenham may spur ISF community league

A view of the AIA-ISF Youth Football League opening ceremony on Sunday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
A view of the AIA-ISF Youth Football League opening ceremony on Sunday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

A new three-year partnership between AIA (Cambodia) Life Insurance Plc and Indochina Starfish Foundation in the Kingdom’s largest community football programme may lead to an inspirational role for English Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in shaping the future of disadvantaged children.

For the past 11 years, ISF has been running a grassroots football programme that reaches almost 4,000 children every year and the highlight of this project is the annual Youth League.

Starting from this year’s edition, which launched at the ISF ground on Sunday, AIA Cambodia will sponsor the league for the next three years.

Run in six categories for boys and girls in the age bands of U-10, U-14 and U-18, the League has also created a slot for deaf and hearing impaired players with matches held every week at the ISF Facility.

The AIA Group Limited is the global principal partner of the Spurs. One of the benefits of this partnership is that two members of the English club’s elite coaching staff are located in Asia to work with youngsters under AIA’s community coaching project.

As a first sign of how well this relationship could grow, those two coaches were present at the league launch.

“We are honoured to be invited to Cambodia to see how ISF and AIA are cultivating a love of football among children in poor communities” said one of the Spurs coaches Daniel Mitchell.

“We are especially excited about how AIA’s relationship with Spurs will enrich the development of children in our programme,” said ISF Trustee Leo Brogan.

“Together with AIA we will be able to enhance the capabilities of the league and quality of our football programme,” he added.

“Working with the ISF is a natural fit for us and we are well placed to support them. Both our organisations are committed to long term social development in Cambodia,” said Richard Bates, CEO of AIA Cambodia.

As many as 194 friendly matches involving 100 teams were played to mark the inaugural with the league getting off the ground next week.