The AIA Stadium Phnom Penh, which is home to ISI Dangkor Senchey FC is not only one o the newest stadiums in Cambodia, but also it would appear one of the best. We went to hang out on the benches and the VIP lounge to see what all the fuss was about.
Who are ISI Dangkor Senchey
To avoid writing ISI Dengkor Senchey FC, lets just call them ISI and state from the outset that they have no affiliation with ISIS, ISIL, or the wider Islamic State. They are a team that is about 4 years old and who unluckily missed out om promotion from the Cambodian Second League.
Fear not though Cambodian football is so corrupt that Satoshi would rather see EDFC go bust than ISI not get promoted. ISI are mow in the Cambodian Premier League.
You can read my interview with Satoshi here.
ISI are though a good club with a great owner and passionate fans. I was looking forward to seeing their new stadium.
The AIA Stadium
Located out towards the airport it is actually better located than stadiums owned by bigger clubs such as Phnom Penh Crown and Visakha FC. It is also known as KHM Park, with global insurance company AIA taking the naming rights.
What is the capacity of the AIA Stadium? Currently it is 3000, but there are hopes to raise this to up to 14,000 as the club grows more successful. This mighty seem like pie in the sky, but the club are building on genuine ambition..
VIP Box at AIA Stadium
We were there to watch ISI B vs Angkor City FC, a game we lost 5-2. Being the away team though meant we got a VIP box for free, rather than the $450 that it would usually cost.
The box is quite close to to the regular stands and not quite as grandiose as you would get in the UK, but we easily fit 20 people in there, with the food and drink supplied by ISI proving more than adequate.
The view to the pitch as also awesome and the fact that were allowed to drink beer, well that was simply the icing on the cake.
And the atmosphere at the AIA Stadium?
Watching football in Cambodia is not the same as watching football in England and you have to come expecting that. With that being said though that almost 1000 people rocked up for a CPL 2 game should not be unedrsdstimated.
And both ISI and Angkor City FC have their ultras which made for what I at least would describe as a fairly decent atmosphere.
There is also a club shop here which potentially had the best deal I have ever seen at a club shop anywhere in the world, buy a season ticket for $25 and get an ISI shirt for free….
Alas it was closed for a mere CPL 2 game and I did not partake.
Street Food ISI Stadium
Not quite the eclectic mix that you get when you watch the Cambodian national team, but still a frilly decent spread.
The stadium is essentially next to a mall, which obviously has a few food options, but there are also hawkers outside and in that make the most of things. This included drink and shirt sellers by the main entrance and people selling Khmer BBQ just on the outskirts.
To be fair even in the AIA Stadium VIP box everything was cooked on site, with the dishes such as pork on a stick and spring rolls being largely Cambodian street food staples.
Overall another great Street Food Guy Day Out, as well as another Khmer football stadium taken care of.