What’s it like to watch football in Cambodia? Overall that will depend if you are watching the top division, the second-tier, regional football, or the national team! But, overall I have to say it is a pretty funny and cost effective day out.
The Cambodian Football Pyramid
As things currently stand the top division in Cambodia is the Cambodian Premier League, which has 10 teams. Underneath this is the Cambodian Second League, or CPL 2, which has 8 clubs. Theoretically there is promotion and religion between the two, but in reality it depends on who knows who, rather than results.
Below this is the Hun Sen Cup, which is the national knock out competition, as well as the defacto 3rd division of Cambodian football.
How mulched does it cost to go and watch Cambodian football?
We will split this into 4 tiers, with the national team at the top. National games cost $10 for best tickets, going down to $2 for the cheapest. The Cambodian Premier League is very similar, depending on the club, while CPL 2 tends to be half as much.
Matches in te Hun Sen Cup are either a buck, or free, with everything lower down being free.
Conversely one can rent a VIP box at clubs such as ISI, or Visakha FC for about $450, which will house 20 people and comes with food and drinks.
How many people watch football in Cambodia?
When it comes to TV and Facebook literally millions of people watch football in Cambodia, alas this doe snot translate to match days.
On average top teams like Phnom Penh Crown, or Visakha FC Geta. Few thousand fans per match, while CPL 2 teams are looking more into the hundreds of fans.
When it comes to the national team though things can go really crazy, with as many as 50,000 fans getting into the Olympic Stadium back in the day and a capacity 20,000+ coming to recent matches. The fans are really passionate and there is even an ultras scene when it comes to football in Cambodia.
You can read about Cambodian football stadiums here.
What is it like to watch football in Cambodia?
When it comes to how good football in Cambodia is and what it is like to watch football here, again there is quite a big continuum. The national team are rated around 170th in the world alongside the likes of Hong Kong and Macao, but again this doe snot mean the football is bad and watching the SEA Games this year was genuinely a treat.
From a club perspective the top sides in the country such as Phnom Penh Crown and PKR Svay Rieng are around the class of a League 1 (tier 3( side in the English pyramid, while this goes down to lower League 2 the further down the division you go.
CPL 2 on the other had is more like non-league football in the UK, with the bottom parts being around the 7th, or 8th tier of English football to give some benchmark.
It is though simply not fair to do a simple comparison like this and I would much rather watch a CPL game than a cold wet Shrewsbury vs Aldershot English match!
Khmer players, and the foreign stars that make up the league truly make watching football in Cambodia an retraining thing and again a great day, or night out.
And there’s street food
And as if you needed another reason why watching football in Cambodia is better than in the UK, not only can you often drink beer in the stadium, but there is usually Khmer street food, in, or around the stadiums.
I’ll take Cambodian street food over a bovril and a pie any day of the week….