With only four days until the tournament starts, we could welcome our first teams to Gothenburg. Forza Academy from Cambodia was one of the teams that arrived on Wednesday night.
“This is huge for the guys. They are proud to be here, and representing their country”, coach Charlie Pomroy says.
The tiredness was palpable after a long journey. Despite that, it was a happy bunch of excited football players from Siem Reap, Cambodia who checked in at ‘Burgårdens high school’.
“We are excited to be here. It’s an honor for us to represent our country in Gothia Cup. For me personally, it’s extra special since I played Gothia Cup seventeen years ago”, Charlie Pomroy says, who originally comes from UK, but has lived in Cambodia for the past seven years.
Gothia Cup welcomes a team from Cambodia for the first time ever. Charlie himself, decided early that he would come back to Gothia Cup one day as a coach. And doing that with his own team from Cambodia is a dream come true.
“I started this project three years ago and after one year we had gathered some players to create a team. Then I got a call from ‘Forza’ (Football Addicts) here in Sweden and after a lot of emails and phone calls we managed to start a program. They’ve funded the whole academy process”, Charlie Pomroy says and adds:
“We’re trying to act like a stepping stone for the Cambodian football players. You can count on one hand how many Cambodian football players who are playing outside Cambodia or Asia. We want to offer this stepping stone to the guys. It’s a natural love for football. For these boys, some of them were born into poverty and football is an escape from that, it’s a big opportunity for the boys.”
Back home in Siem Reap, the team don’t have any access to a full-size pitch and Charlie believes that it could be challenge in Gothia Cup.
“We only got 9-a-side pitches back home and jumping from 9 to 11 is a big jump. The target in my head is that if we finish top 2 in our group, anything past that would be a super bonus”, Charlie Pomroy says.
More teams that checked in on Wednesday:
Asre – Algeria (B13,B12)
ZFA – Lebanon (B15)