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Cambodia to Host Asean Football Youth Series

Cambodia will host the upcoming Asean youth football championship, between Aug. 19 and Sept. 1, sport officials said Thursday.

Players under 17 years old from 10 Southeast Asian nations will compete in a series of matches at Olympic Stadium, in what authorities hope will build unity among youths in the region and help combat crime, drugs and gang activity.

Thailand hosted last year; Vietnam in 2006. This year is Cambodia's turn, in events with VIP tickets for 4,000 riel and standing tickets for just 1,000 riel.

Gen. Sao Sokha, director of the Football Federation of Cambodia, told a press conference Thursday that this is the first time his organization sold such tickets.

Sao Sokha, who is also the chief of the national military police, said that during the tournament about 150 policemen would be deployed.

"Safety is a very important issue in the whole world," he said. "Today Cambodia is honored and is proud because Cambodia is also a country that's safe, compared to its neighbors. We can even say that Cambodia is safer."

Keo Sok Ngon, 16, who will compete in the upcoming soccer tournament, said he was optimistic about the outcome.

"I do not hesitate nor am I afraid that the other teams are stronger or weaker than us," he said. "I think we are the king of soccer."

Vietnam won last year's championship.