It was honors even on Thursday between Hun Many and Sar Sokha—the sons of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng—as they drew 4-4 in a star-studded charity match organized by the CPP’s youth wing.
The match at Olympic Stadium, organized the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), headed by Mr. Many, was a highly orchestrated affair, with hundreds of the group’s teenage members flying UYFC flags.
Mr. Sokha, a CPP lawmaker like Mr. Many, also had a loyal fan base, with a small section of the main stand wearing blue jerseys with his name emblazoned on the back.
Prior to the match, which raised money for the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, the crowd of about 5,000 rose inside Olympic Stadium as the premier’s youngest son entered and delivered a speech lauding the development of sports in the country.
Mr. Many then changed out of his official UYFC attire and into a football kit, walking out of the tunnel with his team, which included national football team star Chan Vathanaka and comedian Ou Bunnarath, better known as Krem, behind a FIFA flag—although the game almost certainly was not being endorsed by world football’s governing body.
After the two teams shook hands, posed for a barrage of photographs and presented each other with kramas, the match got underway.
Despite the game being played at a snail’s pace, Mr. Many appeared a more skilled player than his father—an avid football fan—at least in his later years.
However, in a similar vein to the 2011 friendly football match between the Thai ruling party and Cam*bo*dian government officials—in which Mr. Hun Sen netted a bag of goals while his opponents stood around like statues—defenders seemed reluctant to tackle Mr. Many the few times he closed in on goal.
Mr. Many was not lucky to grab a goal himself, but provided one assist. Mr. Sokha was quiet in comparison.
The event, which was bookended with pop music performances and traditional dance shows, grew significantly in size after the sun set, with about 10,000 spectators inside the stadium with a soundtrack of thudding electro.
Information technology student Chea Meng Chiv, 18, said he enjoyed catching a glimpse of some of his favorite stars from the football pitch and the small screen.
The charity show seemed admirable, he added, but only if Mr. Many was doing it for selfless reasons.
“I think I support this,” he said. “But if he came here in order to boost his own support then I do not support that.”
wright@cambodiadaily.com, sony@cambodiadaily.com
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