Below is a brief background on the coaches of Kampuchea Balopp, without whom the great work of this organisation would be impossible. Every coach dedicates numerous hours each week to working with children from around Phnom Penh. Their commitment to rugby and the kids they coach is admirable. Please take the time to learn a little about them.
Ra was born in Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia. Ra has matured as a player and now represents Cambodia in Rugby Sevens playing on the wing. Ra discovered rugby when he was 12 years old, living at Enfants d’Asie orphanage with his colleague Khemara and Phorn (see below). He enjoys sharing his extensive onfield experience with the children he coaches. He has striven to provide guidance to players since he began working with Kampuchea Balopp in 2013. Ra’s driving ambition is that rugby will have a greater presence in Cambodia and he hopes that his work as a coach will help to achieve this.
Why do you like Rugby? I like rugby because it’s a sport which give you a feeling of freedom !
Why is it important to coach and develop rugby with the children? Rugby is asport which teach the children to face their own fears, and it will help them to earn self confidence.
What do you think about your role? Before being a coach, I am an educator. It’s mean that rugby is not the goal. My final goal is more how I can use a rugby as a tool to help the children to express themselves, and to allow them to get a better education. While I love the competitive side of this sport, my role is more educative.
Khemara was born in Kandal Province, Cambodia. He has been involved in rugby from an early age and now plays fullback for the Cambodian Sevens Rugby team. He discovered rugby when he was 14 years old, living at Enfants d’Asie orphanage with his colleague Ra and Phorn. Khemara began working with Kampuchea Balopp in 2013. His understanding of the game, and his ability to relate to the experiences of the children means that Khemara has much to offer Kampuchea Balopp. As a coach he emphasises that it is important for the children to have fun whilst playing rugby. He has been instrumental in nurturing the self-confidence of the children he coaches.
Why do you like rugby? In the beginning, because rugby allowed me to run and challenge my friends. But after, I’ve discovered how complete rugby is, in terms of sport but also in terms of social values.
Why is it important to coach and develop rugby with the children? Rugby is one the best team sport I know. It helps the children to respect each other, to belong to a team project, and to live in a community. It is important to make rugby more popular in Cambodia, like that more people will be able to benefit from its advantages.
What do you think about your role? Kampuchea Balopp gives me the opportunity to work with children from disadvantaged areas who have a big need to spend their energy. So my first role is to give them this chance; then, we have to channel this energy to make them understand all the social rules behind this contact sport.
Phorn, or Sophoan as we call him, is 22 years old and was born in Phnom Penh. He started playing rugby at Enfants d’Asie orphenage with his “brothers” Ra and Khemara. Sophoan started working with Kampuchea Balopp in November 2015.
Why do you like rugby? I like rugby because it is a new sport in Cambodia. I’ve discovered this sport in my orphanage and since the first training, I’ve loved it. I don’t know why !!
Why is it important to coach and develop rugby with the kids? Because the children have a lot of free time during the day. They have only four hours of public school per day, and the rest of the day, they don’t have so many activities to do. It’s important to give them a balance by giving them the opportunity to train and play every week.
What do you think about your role? Since my two best friends Ra and Khemara worked at Kampuchea Balopp, I wanted to join them, but jean Baptiste wanted me to finish my study before starting with KB. I am so happy to be a sports teacher, there is not that many people in Cambodia who have the chance to do that job !!
Soknov is the newest member of the Educator Team and is 21 years old from Kompng Speu province. She discovered rugby when she was 10 years old, living at PSE – Pour un Sourire d’Enfant. She likes playing rugby and loves hearing it.
Why do you like rugby? I like playing rugby because it makes me strong as a human being in society and makes more friends as well.
Why is it important to coach and develop rugby with the kids? I want to teach the children at a young age to understand that both women and men can play rugby.
What do you think about your role? I take high responsibility with the role of educator and share all my experiences to children and make rugby as known as football.
JB was born in France and started playing rugby at 4 years old in Soyaux, France. He started coaching rugby at 24 years old. Previously he worked for the Cambodian Federation of Rugby and is currently the Team Manager of the Cambodian National Rugby Team. JB’s experience and drive is the keystone to Kampuchea Balopp’s creation and program development.
Why do you like rugby? During all of my childhood, my parents used to bring us (including my older brother) to every single game my Dad played, who was the inside center of the team. My Mom was the vice president of the club, she was the one who announced the names of every player before the game started. When I think about those memories, I remember that all of those players were like heroes to me, and all I wanted to do, was to be like them. I didn’t choose rugby, it came naturally.
What do you like about rugby? I love the 30 minutes before the game, the smell of camphor oil, the faces of the players, the focus and determination, the noise of metal cleats (studs) on the floor of the change-rooms, the speech of the coach, and all of this tension, this fear, this excitement. After that, the kick-off signaled by the referee’s whistle was just a great release of all of the energy and emotion..
During the game, the biggest pleasure I have is when I manage to drive the forward pack towards the opposition, the forwards advance slowly with the ball and give the defense no opportunity to stop them; then at the right moment, release the ball to the back-line where they have enough space to enjoy (and score)!
Why it is important to develop rugby with the kids?
Rugby is the perfect sport to educate children. It’s not only a team sport, it’s a philosophy which teaches the most important life values to the kids, to help them to become good people in society. Thanks to rugby, the kids learn so many social skills. They also learn about themselves, to prepare for an objective, to accept defeat, and to learn how to live together.