We plan to make football famous in Asia and Africa: Akihiro Kato, President of Angkor Tiger FC 

Akhiro Kato wants to shift the football spotlight from Europe to Asia and Africa. To this end, the President of Angkor Tiger Football Club, will train his eyes on digital initiatives like global fan membership programmes.

Cambodian club Angkor Tiger FC, which operates under the ownership of Japanese entrepreneur Kato, competes in the Cambodian Premier League. It is situated in Siem Reap, renowned worldwide for the Angkor Wat temple.

But what is the football club’s India connection? It is today owned by the Chennai-based SkaSports Investments Pvt Ltd. “Unlike in Europe, where sports and businesses have evolved, we recognise that we are in the early stages, and we plan to merge Asian players into the global football scene,” Kato, who is also the CEO of Tiger Branding, told businessline on Friday. “This way, we can create a pathway for our players to be recognised and purchased by top clubs, added Kato.

On August 30, SkaSports Investments Private Limited, a fully Indian-owned company specialising in sports-related ventures, disclosed the purchase of a partial share in Angkor Tiger Football Club. This move establishes SkaSports as the first Indian entity to possess ownership in a Southeast Asian football club.

The club is set to construct its home stadium in Siem Reap, investing $2.5 million. The projected revenue is based on an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 spectators per game for 10 home matches, resulting in an average season revenue of around $40,000. With a total of 27 matches (half home, half away), the club anticipates generating at least $1,00,000 per season, considering other revenue streams.

Cambodia has a distinct football landscape, blending native elements with business opportunities. Additionally, there’s an intention to involve Indian talent, said Sudhir Menon, Director, SkaSports Investments Private Limited.

Sports tourism between India and Cambodia

The diplomatic relationship between India and Cambodia is at its peak, with the possibility of a direct flight from New Delhi to Cambodia in 2024. IRCTC, the government-owned travel and tourism company, has also launched a tour package for Ayodhya to Vietnam and Cambodia.

The government’s increased flight announcements align with our collaborative efforts to increase tourism in Cambodia, said Rohit Ramesh, Director, SkaSports Investments Private Limited.

We are planning to try and push further by getting some talented Indian players or coaches to work in Cambodia based on their technical ability, which will enhance further interest from India in terms of support, added Menon.

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