After stopping off in Paris to visit PSG's facilities and their new Camp des Loges training complex, Lieutenant General Sokha Sao, the head of the Cambodian Football Association, travelled on to Zurich to pay a visit to FIFA on Monday.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Gendarmerie Royale Khmère, who was elected president of the national FA in 2006, was accompanied by his vice-president Ravy Khek and discussed a number of development projects with Joseph S. Blatter. After his meeting with the FIFA President, Mr Sao spoke to FIFA.com about these projects, the national team's recent form and his hopes for the future.
FIFA.com: Mr Sao, can you tell us the reason behind your visit to FIFA?
Lieutenant General Sokha Sao: I wanted to talk to President Blatter about the FIFA pilot project for which Cambodia has been selected. It's a new project that sets out to help national associations become more professional in the way they are run and thereby ensure the game develops in each country. I also wanted to update President Blatter on the progress we have made with regard to the Angkor Resolution, which aims to make the Cambodian FA more professional.
And how do you intend to achieve that?
By cutting staff to begin with because what matters is quality, not quantity. We also need to find technical directors to enhance the development of the game, set up a programme for the national teams, identify our strengths and weaknesses in terms of marketing so that we can find more partners, and, finally, put in place an IT network so that we can run a professional FA.
The national team had some disappointing results last season. How are you planning to turn things around?
Our national team is not very strong right now but we hope to make gradual progress and improve our performances. What we would like to do first of all is to strengthen the domestic league and cup competitions through the clubs. Our development plans have yet to bear fruit so we have started looking for Cambodian players overseas who can help make the national team stronger.
The Goal Project II was approved in February 2008. Can you tell us what it consists of?
The Goal Project II should be incorporated into Goal Project I. We have one pitch right now and we will have another one soon. We are also going to put up a building for the national teams, a sports hall for futsal and a store room for equipment.
What is your main role as president of the FA?
My main task is to ensure the successful development of the youth game in Cambodia.