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Hà Nội Police have high hopes for V.League 1 debut




Coach Paulo Foiani (2nd right) instructs Hà Nội Police FC players during a friendly tournament that ended on January 16 in the capital. The Brazilian hopes to lead his club to a top-three finish in the 2023 V.League 1. Photo of Hà Nội Police FC

HÀ NỘI — V.League 1 new boys Hà Nội Police FC have attracted a number of quality players including national team members with high hopes for their debut season.

The tournament will begin on February 3 and will end after five and a half months, the shortest event in history. It made the switch to synchronise with the FIFA’s and AFC’s competition systems.

Hà Nội Police, formerly  People’s Public Security FC, advanced to the national premier league after winning the V.League 2 title last October.

In their name-changing ceremony earlier this month, the international coaching team and new faces were introduced. Despite playing in the First Division for the very first time, they are aiming for a top-three finish.

Brazilian Paulo Foiani has signed as head coach. Before coming to Việt Nam, he took charge of 21 clubs in his home country. Among them were Sociedade Esportiva Juazeirense who finished second at the 2015 Copa Governador Da Bahia; Sinop Futebol and Sportivo who grabbed slots in the 2019 and 2021 Copa Do Brazil, respectively.

In his playing time, the midfielder was captain of Coritiba FC from 1997 to 2001.

“I want to build up a beautiful playing style, the Brazilian style, at Hà Nội Police. This is a club with determined and energic players that will hunt victories,” said Foniani, 46.

“I am excited about the new job and will try my best to glue players together into a strong and united team to achieve good results this season.”

Foiani will be assisted by Flavio Cruz. The Brazilian has been working in Việt Nam for seven years as both a player and coach with Huda Huế, Bình Định, Gia Định and Navibank Sài Gòn in both V.League 1 and V.League 2.

“I believe that Vietnamese football has made impressive progress with good preparation,” he said.

“Our football training centre at the PFV campus provides high-quality facility and training conditions. I think that Hà Nội Police’s young and determined players with good technique and tactical mind will help the team become a competitive opposition in the league and we will go far.”

The club has signed a two-year contract with defender Hồ Tấn Tài who was part of the national team that reached the final of the AFF Cup.

Hà Nội Police FC have announced their latest deal, a contract with national defender Hồ Tấn Tài, on their Facebook fanpage. — Photo of VFF

Tài signed a five-year deal with Bình Định FC early last year after almost two years playing for his hometown club. He was a key player to help the team finish third in the 2022 season. But recently, the club faced a financial crisis of VNĐ38.5 billion of debt including players’ salaries and bonuses. This is thought to be the reason that Tài’s left.

“I will try to compete, give my best, and help my team finish high in the V.League so that we will not disappoint our fans, coaches and owners,” he said.

Despite being a defender, Tài scored five goals in the 2022 V.League 1, two for the national team at the 2022 World Cup qualifications and one at the AFF Cup.

The club has also introduced national team defenders Vũ Văn Thanh and Đoàn Văn Hậu, midfielder Phan Văn Đức, and former U23 goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng.

Former Becamex Bình Dương captain Tô Văn Vũ and striker Nguyễn Xuân Nam, also arrived in early January.

Duo Bùi Tiến Dụng and Sầm Ngọc Đức are also among the 10 new faces. They are expected to strengthen the team’s defence.

At the same time, they will guide young teammates who are home-grown players of the team in the tough V.League 1.

Hà Nội Police FC players train for the 2023 season. — Photo of Hà Nội Police FC

In the first-round match, Hà Nội Police will host Bình Định at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium.

Following the tournament format, 14 teams will play in round robin in the first period. In the second, the top six teams will vie for the championship trophy while the rest will fight to avoid relegation. VNS





In Ho Chi Minh City, more and more young people fond of billiards despite prejudice



Numerous billiards clubs are now emerging across Ho Chi Minh City, with the majority of customers being young people, despite stereotypes.

On weekend evenings, billiards clubs are often crowded and lack available tables.

Based on Google Maps data, there are currently around 410 billiard centers in Ho Chi Minh City, most of which are located in populous areas including District 1, District 8, District 10, Binh Thanh District, Tan Phu District, Tan Binh District, Phu Nhuan District, and Go Vap District.

In the affordable segment, pool table rental prices vary from VND30,000 (US$1.24) to VND100,000 ($4.12) per hour, while modern-equipped places charge between VND120,000 ($4.94) and VND300,000 ($12.36) an hour.

Pool cue rental is not included in the mentioned fees, and it costs at least VND50,000 ($2.06) per person.

Besides that, many online groups on Facebook for billiards enthusiasts whose members range from thousands to hundreds of thousands have started to bloom such as ‘Cong Dong Bida – Chia Se Dam Me’ (Billiard Community – Sharing Passion), ‘Dam Me Bida’ (Passionate about Billiards), and ‘Cong Dong Bida Sai Gon’ (Ho Chi Minh City Billiards Community).

These pages aim to connect players for friendly matches, share skills, and promote this sport in Vietnam.

According to Van Anh, the manager of a newly opened billiards club on Au Co Street in Tan Phu District, customers of different age groups, mostly between 18 and 30, have been enjoying the facility.

She said that the busiest time is from 7:00 or 8:00 pm onward, particularly on weekends when tables are usually in full use.

Sense of community

Billiards seems to be a game suitable for gathering.

This sport arouses curiosity amid young people, tempting them to try it, even though it is often associated with both bad and good stories, Anh said.

Many entertainment channels that influence young people, including Schannel, share information about famous billiards players, which inspires more youth to learn about this sport, she added.

Tran Duc Anh, 22, a Tan Binh District resident, said he and his friends often go to billiards centers three to four times a week, and it has been three years since he first tried playing it.

“I find billiards trendy and recreational, especially when playing it with a group of friends,” Duc Anh said.

“Before entering the game, we often make mutual consent that the loser will pay for the group’s billiard fee. This small competition excites our moods and generates more fun.”

As for Thanh Chi, 18, billiards is beyond just a game.

“This sport is enticing in that participants must have a certain calculation of hand strength and ball direction to be able to win the match. In addition, billiards provides a great opportunity for friends or colleagues to gather around,” said Chi.

Normally, Chi and a group of four to six co-workers meet at a billiards club once or twice a week.


There used to be a perception amid the public that billiards is an unhealthy game due to its frequent association with alcohol, gambling, and prostitution, leading to many people believing that this sport should not be encouraged.

Nowadays, billiards is becoming more and more openly accepted since it is not only an entertaining sport but also a strategic game, requiring careful calculation and high skills to win.

Moreover, billiards is included in a variety of domestic and international sports tournaments.

Le Diem Hanh, 21, a senior from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, disagreed with the said prejudice even though she is not a fan of billiards, saying that billiards is a healthy game as there are many widely-broadcasted billiards competitions within and outside Vietnam.

Hanh emphasized that human beings themselves are the ones who assign negative connotations to billiards.

She also mentioned that billiards is a socially recognized profession.

Tran Mai Chi, 26, a District 8 dweller, saw eye to eye with Hanh.

“It depends on each person’s purpose when playing billiards. If it’s just for stress relief with friends or colleagues, there’s nothing bad about it,” Chi said.

Interaction and learning

As the mass sports training movement has spread in both breadth and depth, billiards has attracted a large number of amateur players because of its unique appeal. 

Thinh Kent (holding a pool cue), a renowned Vietnamese billiards player, has a positive vision of this sport in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Thinh Kent

Thinh Kent (holding a pool cue), a renowned Vietnamese billiards player, has a positive vision of this sport in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Thinh Kent

“Billiards is gaining the position it deserves in the heart of the public today,” affirmed Huynh Truong Thinh, also known as Thinh Kent, a renowned Vietnamese professional billiards player and the director of the billiards center Thinh Kent Carom Academy.

Frequent and large-scale tournaments are organized, with the primary focus being on interaction and learning rather than winning or losing.

The players who participate in these tournaments share a common passion and come together to motivate each other toward leading a more positive life, said Thinh Kent.

Billiards is expected to thrive and lure a large number of participants, making fitness, sports, and local entertainment activities more diverse and exciting.

Additionally, many talented billiards players have been discovered, contributing to Vietnam’s sports and promoting the country’s billiards strength in the international arena, he said.

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European athletes bag two gold medals at Vovinam world championship in Vietnam



Italy and Germany secured first place twice in the performance category on Monday, increasing Europe’s gold medal count at the seventh WVVF World Vovinam Championships 2023, taking place in Ho Chi Minh City, to four.

Short for ‘Vo Viet Nam,’ literally ‘Vietnamese Martial Arts,’ vovinam is Vietnam’s acrobatic martial art, which achieved a significant milestone in 2008 with the establishment of the World Vovinam Federation (WVVF).

Previously, Russia and Belarus had won two gold medals in combat events on Friday, the first day of the competition, which is being held by the WVVF from November 22 to 30 at Phu Tho Indoor Sports Hall in the city’s District 11, attracting more than 650 athletes from 35 countries and territories.

The two victories on Monday added great pride, marking European athletes’ first gold medals in performance events.

In the female ying-yang sword form team category, Italy’s Mazza Francesca, Di Nardi Iris Ida Carolina, Minniti Chiara, and Ibba Francesca came in first with 270 points, highlighting a grand achievement, considering they beat host Vietnam – the homeland of vovinam – by three points.

The four Italian athletes celebrated their victory by proudly singing their national anthem on the podium during the awards ceremony.

France’s Nguyen Viet Trang performs in the female duel knife form category during the seventh WVVF World Vovinam Championships 2023 at Phu Tho Indoor Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, November 27, 2023. Photo: N.K. / Tuoi Tre

Germany’s Nguyen Viet Trang performs in the female duel knife form category during the seventh WVVF World Vovinam Championships 2023 at Phu Tho Indoor Sports Hall in Ho Chi Minh City, November 27, 2023. Photo: N.K. / Tuoi Tre

In the female duel knife form category, Nguyen Viet Trang, a German athlete of Vietnamese origin, secured first place with 262 points, narrowly surpassing Cisse Zeynab Findonan from Ivory Coast by just one point.

In the same category, another athlete of Vietnamese descent representing France, Truong Thuy Tien, came in third place with 256 points.

Before Monday, a total of 11 gold medals for performance events had been awarded, five of which went to Vietnam, three to Algeria, two to Cambodia, and one to Thailand.

Vietnam wrapped up the third day of competition by winning four gold medals.

In the male category of the ten-technique eight-principle form, Vuong Minh Khang of Vietnam claimed first place, surpassing Robin Sudorruslan of France by three points.

Vietnam’s Huynh Khac Nguyen performs in the male category of the sun-moon broadsword form during the seventh WVVF World Vovinam Championships 2023 at Phu Tho Indoor Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, November 27, 2023. Photo: N.K. / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Huynh Khac Nguyen performs in the male category of the sun-moon broadsword form during the seventh WVVF World Vovinam Championships 2023 at Phu Tho Indoor Sports Hall in Ho Chi Minh City, November 27, 2023. Photo: N.K. / Tuoi Tre

In the male category of the sun-moon broadsword form, Huynh Khac Nguyen secured a commanding first place with 275 points, maintaining a substantial ten-point lead over runner-up Maxime Chung, representing France.

Medallo Jovan from the Philippines and Tran Dinh Du from Germany tied in the same category with 262 points. 

In the rematch, Jovan earned 265 points and secured victory over Du by two points.

In the combat events, Le Ngoc Vinh Truong of Vietnam emerged victorious in the male 60kg category by a knock-out against Cantores Emmanuel of the Philippines, while Bui Xuan Nhat secured victory against Kao Vichetrach of Cambodia in the male 68kg final.

Competitions on Tuesday consisted of five performance and four combat events.

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AFC levies heavy fine on Chinese midfielder for kneeing Vietnamese opponent



Chinese left-winger Wei Shihao has been given a heavy fine by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for kneeing Vietnamese defensive midfielder Pham Xuan Manh in the face during the fourth match of the AFC Champions League (ACL) group stage earlier this month.

Wei committed the unsportsmanlike act on Manh in Wuhan Three Towns FC’s 1-2 defeat against Hanoi FC on November 8, resulting in an immediate red card in the 75th minute.

Following this incident, AFC announced a three-match suspension and a fine of US$1,000 for Wei.

This penalty renders the Chinese midfielder ineligible for the remaining two matches of Wuhan Three Towns in Group J against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds and South Korea’s Pohang Steelers.

Should Wuhan Three Towns advance to the next stage, Wei’s suspension will carry over to the subsequent match. 

If not, the penalty will be reserved for application in the next ACL participation.

Additionally, AFC issued a warning to Wei, indicating that the fine may escalate if similar violations persist in the future.

In the aftermath of his misconduct against Manh, the Chinese midfielder also faced strong criticism from Chinese football fans and the press. 

Chinese-language Sohu newspaper commented that the unacceptable behavior leading to Wei’s red card has drawn widespread condemnation.

This is not the first time Wei has met with severe penalties as he received a six-match suspension in the top-tier Chinese Super League (CSL) for insulting a referee last year.

The 2023-24 ACL is the 42nd edition of Asia’s premier club football tournament, featuring 40 football clubs from 20 associations.

The 40 teams were drawn into ten groups of four.

The tournament winner will qualify for the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup in the United States.

Hanoi FC stand as the sole representative from Vietnam participating in this year’s ACL.

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