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The Local Game: Four winners and losers of the V.League postponement




Hà Nội FC and Hải Phòng in action earlier this year. VPF Photo

Peter Cowan                                                   

It’s all over bar the shouting, and boy will there be a lot of shouting.

With Friday’s news that the Việt Nam Professional Football (VPF) Company has proposed postponing the 2021 domestic season until February next year due to the worsening COVID-19 situation, it looks like we’ve seen the last of club football in Việt Nam this year.

Yes, the proposal still needs to be approved by Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) and clubs still have to have their say (some reportedly learned of the decision through media reports), but if something so drastic is even being floated, in my mind it’s a fait accompli.

While such a lengthy postponement will hit everyone in the game hard and is being welcomed by no one, there are undoubtedly some parties who will benefit more than others, at least in the short term.

Winner – Park Hang-seo

The national team coach is essentially now running a club team.

Without league matches to play the Korean strategist will surely have the benefit of a plus-size squad in training camps for virtually as long as he wants, giving him the chance to drill his tactics so deep into his players’ minds that generations of their descendants will understand the wingback’s role in the 3-5-2.

That’s a luxury Việt Nam’s opponents in the final round of World Cup qualification won’t have, particularly heavyweights Australia and Japan, whose squads are made up of players who ply their trade all over the world.

The lack of competitive action will surely be a concern, but I think overall the benefits of having greater access to the team outweigh any worries about match sharpness for the time being.

Loser – players

According to some counts, there are about 700 professional players in Việt Nam’s top two leagues and only 48 or so of them will be involved with the senior national team.

That leaves more than 600 others stuck in limbo for months and the prospect of being unable to compete for so long will surely have most of them absolutely gutted.

Aside from the emotional issue of being without the beautiful game, there are probably hundreds of players worried about making ends meet going forward.

V.League players make a decent living compared to average incomes in Việt Nam but make no mistake, they don’t earn the astronomical sums Premier League players do.

As the league is suspended and not cancelled, clubs are required to keep paying their players, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be able or willing to fulfil that obligation, just look at what’s happened at Than Quảng Ninh.

Winner – big clubs

While every club is going to take a huge financial hit without matches to generate revenue, there are definitely some better positioned to ride out this storm than others.

Sông Lam Nghệ An (SLNA) and Quảng Ninh, for example, were in well-publicised financial difficulties long before this postponement was mooted.

If they’re thrown into even more dire straits by the postponement, clubs with deeper pockets like Hà Nội FC and Hoàng Anh Gia Lai could reap the rewards down the line by gobbling up their top players on cut-price deals.

Loser – fans

Football is nothing without fans, and what are fans without football?

No matter the strength of the public health argument for postponement and even being aware that it can’t have been an easy call for anyone to make, going without football for such a long spell is going to sting for V.League fanatics.

For me, the Premier League doesn’t quite scratch the itch a mid-table Phố Hiến FC- Huế clash does, but I suppose watching Harry Kane and Harry Maguire compare forehead and wallet sizes will have to do for now.

Stay safe wherever you are and with a bit of luck, hopefully, this is the last year we have to worry about COVID wrecking an entire season.



Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win



Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win

Vietnam players celebrate after the victory over Pacific Oceania in Davis Cup on September 15, 2021. Photo by Vietnam Tennis Federation

Vietnam won 2-1 against Pacific Oceania on the first day of Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone matches Wednesday.

Trinh Linh Giang played first, facing Mainguy Clement. Giang let Clement win the first set, but came back stronger in the next two sets to claim victory.

In the second match, the key player of Vietnam, Ly Hoang Nam, battled Colin Sinclair, the star of Pacific Oceania. Sinclair won the first set and Nam equalized, but the Vietnamese lost in the last set.

After two matches, the score was 1-1 and the result was decided by the final match, as Nam and Le Quoc Khanh played Sinclair and Baudinett Brett in the doubles. The Vietnamese players won the first set, before Pacific Oceania equalized. In an intense third set, Nam and Khanh wrapped it up with a triumph. Overall, Vietnam won 2-1 after 7.5 hours of competition with Pacific Oceania.

This victory pushed Vietnam to the top of their group. The team will play Qatar on the second day Thursday.

Previously, Vietnam had been chosen to host group three of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone. But because of the ongoing Covid-19 wave in the country, the International Tennis Federation instead appointed Jordan as host.


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Hải Phòng FC proposes plan to organise World Cup qualifiers matches at their stadium



Hải Phòng FC would like to host Việt Nam’s matches team in the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers campaign at Lạch Tray stadium after international media complained about the grass quality at Mỹ Đình stadium. Photo courtesy of Hải Phòng FC

HẢI PHÒNG — Following complaints about the state of the pitch at Việt Nam’s national stadium, Hải Phòng FC is offering to host the next round of World Cup qualifier games.

After the loss to Australia last week, the condition of the pitch at Mỹ Đình was heavily criticised.

Now Hải Phòng FC president Trần Văn Hoàn, has written to the People’s Committee and Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng, asking to work with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on the possibility of Lạch Chay stdium hosting the matches against Saudi Arabia on November 16 and China on February 1.

In the proposal, the club says they believe that organising Việt Nam’s matches on low quality grass surface such as Mỹ Đình will affect the professional quality of the game as well as the image of the country.

VFF board members said that they have not yet received the proposal from Hải Phòng. However, the possibility of the national team playing at Lạch Tray is low due to many regulations of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Rules state the stadium must be near an international airport so that the visiting team can minimise the travel distance, be close to a five-star hotel to ensure safety and have training facilities nearby.

After the 1-0 victory against Việt Nam, Australian coach Graham Arnold complained about the grass of Mỹ Đình, saying it had detrimental effect on his team’s performance.

Australian media even compared the stadium surface to a “cow paddock”.

Mỹ Đình Stadium is a non-business unit under the management of the General Department of Physical Education and Sports. VFF has to pay a fee every time the national team plays there.

Addressing the criticism of the pitch, director of the Mỹ Đình National Sports Complex Nguyễn Trọng Hồ said: “The grass is still good as AFC has checked and assessed the pitch to be of good quality, thereby allowing the match to be held.”

Currently, Hải Phòng FC is waiting for the permission of the People’s Committee and the Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng city to work with VFF. If this is approved, the representative of the club will send an official letter to VFF.

Lạch Tray stadium used to be considered one of the low-quality stadiums in Việt Nam. However, the team has just invested to improve the grass, lights and facilities.

In the 2022 World Cup third round qualification, Việt Nam are still to win a point after two defeats to Saudi Arabia and Australia and are only above the bottom team China in group B thanks to a better goal difference.

The team will return to training on September 16 to prepare for the two away matches against China and Oman in October.


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Two Vietnamese contestants vie for Miss Grand Slam 2020



Two Vietnamese contestants have been named in the list of 42 candidates for Miss Grand Slam 2020, according to Global Beauties, an online source of reliable pageant-related information and news.

Two Vietnamese contestants vie for Miss Grand Slam 2020 hinh anh 1

Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 Nguyen Tran Khanh Van. (Photo: VNA)

They are winner of Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 Nguyen Tran Khanh Van and second runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2020 Nguyen Le Ngoc Thao.

Thao entered Top 20 of the Miss Grand International 2020 held in Thailand, while Van received the highest number of votes from fans to enter the Top 21 of the Miss Universe 2020 in the US after finishing the final round.

Two Vietnamese contestants vie for Miss Grand Slam 2020 hinh anh 2

Second runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2020 Nguyen Le Ngoc Thao. (Photo courtesy of Thao)

Global Beauties will announce the Top 20 of Miss Grand Slam 2020 following assessments of an international panel of judges.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, two Grand Slam contests, or the top competitions of beauty pageants worldwide, managed to make their 2020 editions happen, which were Miss Grand International and Miss Universe.

The candidate with the best overall performance of the year will be chosen from 42 young women who advanced to the semi-finals of their respective international challenges. In this competition, it does not matter how they ranked in the actual contests, announced Global Beauties./.

Source: VNA


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