Celebrated as the most decorated player in the English Premier League, Ryan Giggs OBE, has made more appearances and won more honours than any other player in Manchester United’s history and in February 2018 was appointed manager of the Wales National Team.
Yet despite being in high-demand the international legend still found time to visit Cambodia to show his support for local football as Brand Ambassador for Tiger Street Football Festival 2018, the original and largest outdoor sports tournament of its kind.
As part of an exclusive interview with B2B Cambodia he discussed the overwhelming response to his arrival in the country, his passion for supporting football around the world and why he decided to take part in Tiger Street Football Festival 2018:
Q: When you arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport were you surprised at the scale of the reception you received from fans and the media?
A: I was amazed so many fans came to welcome me at the airport as it was quite late in the evening. I think it says a lot about the popularity of football here as well as the brilliant hospitality of the Cambodian people. It was really positive as everyone was very excited, so I instantly knew I made the right decision to come here. It was a brilliant start to my visit and I really appreciated the warm welcome.
Q: What made you decide to visit Cambodia as Brand Ambassador for the 6th Edition of Tiger Street Football Festival 2018?
A: The main reason I wanted to be a part of this is because it’s a great opportunity to promote football for the new generation here that really loves the game. I’ve received so much from football and now it’s my chance to give back. Tiger Street Football Festival provides aspiring footballers a platform to showcase their talent, learn new styles and get the chance to become champions. Tiger Beer has done an outstanding job developing and growing TSFF into a national tournament. I can see it is a positive step for the future of Cambodian football and if I can inspire the players then that’s fantastic.
Q: What activities have you taken part in for Tiger Street Football Festival?
A: My role has been to get involved with as much of the festival as possible like joining the opening and closing ceremonies of the grand finals, coaching the players and encouraging them to give it their best, meeting with the fans to create a new level of excitement for the tournament. There’s also a lot of other things I have been able to do like join the music concerts each night and finding out about football in Cambodia.
Q: What do you think about the footballing talent you have seen in Cambodia?
A: It’s been interesting to learn about the local football scene and watch the teams battling it out during the grand finals. I can see there are many up-and-coming players who are passionate, talented and ambitious. Football in Cambodia is developing fast and your players are improving all the time. They have really inspired me actually.
Q: Do you have any advice for Cambodian footballers? How can they learn from your example and success playing for Manchester United and internationally?
A: It isn’t just about having talent, if you want success you have to be willing to work hard. I believe I have a talent for football, but my success came about because I made the most of it. I played with many talented footballers, but it was the ones who were ready to work hard who have had the greatest success. You have to train every day and give it your all. Back when I was a young boy I would play football outside my house every night until it was dark. You just have to keep working at it and never give up.
Q: Has your experience in Cambodia been enjoyable and worthwhile?
A: This is a beautiful country and the Cambodian people have really charmed me with their kindness as well as their passion for football. I am going to be recommending Cambodia to all my mates and fellow footballers back in the UK as I’ve had an amazing time. I can’t wait to come back in the future to see how football in the country continues to grow.
Q: Do you have any final messages you would like to share?
A: I’d like to thank Tiger Beer for inviting me to be Brand Ambassador for Tiger Street Football Festival 2018. I also want to congratulate Anachak Baitong for winning the grand final as well as all the other hundreds of teams that took part in the tournament. I wish everyone in Cambodia my best and hope to see you all again very soon!
For more details on Tiger Street Football Festival 2018, visit the official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TigerBeerKH
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