With Giggs watching on, Anachak Baitong claim trophy

Team members of Anachak Baitong pose alongside Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.. KT/Yeun Punlue
 
After traversing the length and breadth of the kingdom of Cambodia, and taking in Sihanoukville, Kampong Speu, Battambang, Siem Reap, Poipet, Kampong Cham, and Kandal, the 6th Annual Tiger Street Football Festival landed in Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich – with ex-Manchester United legend and Tiger brand ambassador Ryan Giggs in attendance.
 
After navigating the knockout stage, Phnom Penh’s Anachak Baitong were drawn to meet Sihanoukville’s Preah Sihanouk Police Department in yesterday evening’s grand final.
 
A tense final saw Anachak Baitong take the championship trophy with a slender 2-1 win over their unlucky opponents. An early goal put them on their way before they doubled their lead with a superbly executed second. Preah Sihanouk pulled a goal back but it was ultimately not enough as Anachak Baitong claimed this year’s grand prize.
 
The winners were handed a cheque for $15,000 by Hun Many, CPP lawmaker for Kampong Speu province and president of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia. As first runners-up Preah Sihanouk Police Department were awarded $5,000, 3G FC – the second runners up received $2,500, while third placed Tuol Ta Ek garnered $1,000
 
Giggs, the most decorated footballer in history and now head coach of the Wales national team, landed in the kingdom late on Friday evening and was met by hordes of adoring fans at Phnom Penh’s Pochentong airport. The next day, he spoke of his hopes at inspiring Cambodia’s budding footballers.
 
“The reason I came to Cambodia to be a part of this is because I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to promote football. I’m a football fan and always have been. The game has given me so much and I see now that I have to give back and if that’s to inspire young people and bring new people to the game then that’s fantastic,” said Giggs at Saturday’s press conference at the Sofitel hotel.
 
“Part of my role is to be part of the festival, inspire the players on the pitch and to create a level of excitement around the festival. Not only with the football but with everything else going on like the concert so being a part of that and helping the festival to grow bigger each year, he added.
 
As a winner of 34 trophies during his stellar 24-year career at Manchester United, he gave some sage advice to promising young footballers.
 
“The key to success in any part of life is to work hard, and that’s true not only in football, said the Welshman. “It’s been the bedrock of my career and I’ve always worked hard. I think I was born with talent but I made the most of that talent. I’ve played with players who had lots of talent but weren’t prepared to work hard and make sacrifices.”
 
Tiger Street Football Festival 2018 is organised by Tiger Beer to connect with youths in Cambodia and extend its footprint towards developing football in the kingdom. With futsal growing in popularity with every event, fans can expect an even bigger event next year.
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