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Viettel FC aim for a top three finish in the upcoming V.League 1



Viettel FC stand ready for the upcoming V.League 1 season. Photo courtesy of Viettel FC


HÀ NỘI — As the highly anticipated V.League 1 season is set to kick off this weekend, Viettel FC are preparing to hit the field with determination and a clear target in mind – finishing in the top three of the league. 

“In the 2023 season, Viettel will have many new policies to improve the team. We aim to reach the top three at the league, competing for the championship and reaching the final of the National Cup,” chairman of Viettel FC Tào Đức Thắng said as the team gathered on Tuesday.

“This year, Viettel FC will continue to focus on youth training. Viettel set a target that the percentage of players trained by their training centre will account for at least 85 per cent of the squad,” Thắng added.

Viettel finished fourth in the league last season, but they marked their success by contributing to the Vietnamese national team.

They contributed eight players to the senior team, accounting for 31 per cent of the team. The contribution rate of youth players to the U17, U19, and U21 teams is 43 per cent with 27 players.

Nguyễn Hoàng Đức, Nguyễn Thanh Bình, Nhâm Mạnh Dũng and Phan Tuấn Tài all featured prominently on the team that won 31st SEA Games gold. They also received certificates of merit from the Prime Minister.

The team also officially announced the signing of a contract with striker Jefferson Elias from Brazil, born in 1998. Elias is a prominent player from the youth training academy Atletico Minero of Brazil.

He also played for Democrata and Patrocinense. Last year, he scored 11 goals in 18 matches for URT.

Viettel will face defending champions Hà Nội FC this Sunday in the opening match of the national premiere league.

“The most anticipated game of the season is also the opening match that makes us extremely excited. The challenges are not small when we meet the defending champions, but we will make our greatest efforts to get the best result for the match,” captain Bùi Tiến Dũng said. VNS



National Wrestling Championship opens in Thanh Hóa



Athletes compete in the National Wrestling Championship on Monday. VNA/VNS Photo

THANH HÓA — The National Wrestling Championship opened in the central province of Thanh Hóa on Monday.

This year’s tournament attracted the participation of about 300 athletes from 19 clubs across the country, competing in the women’s and men’s freestyle and classical events for 33 sets of medals.

The event’s best athletes will be selected for the upcoming SEA Games 32 in Cambodia in May.

The event was co-organised by the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, National Sports Administration and Việt Nam Wrestling Federation.

It will last until March 18. VNS


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The Local Game:I love to say I told you so



The next V.League 1 fixture is in April. Photo: 

Peter Cowan

The phrase “I hate to say I told you so” has never really resonated with me.

One of my many flaws is I love being right and have no hesitation when it comes to letting others know that, and it’s happened again.

My last column sang the praises of the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) for hiring Philippe Troussier as the new head coach of the national team, though I also mentioned he’ll need to be backed to the hilt to succeed.

Surprise surprise, one of the things he said he needs to build a strong national team is a strong domestic league which if you read these pages regularly, is something I’ve been banging on about forever.

“I think it is necessary to improve the competitiveness and rhythm of the game for the Vietnamese team by maintaining the V.League, the Frenchman said last week according to

“I hope in the future, Vietnamese players can play 45-50 V.League matches a season and the domestic league can last up to 10 months,”

He went on to lament the fact that V.League 1 players will have played only four matches in a period of four months, as the domestic season has taken a 45-day break.

Ostensibly this break is meant to allow the various national teams time to train together for competitions, but there are no fixtures planned for the senior team.

Indeed, the closest thing to a high profile international competition in this break is the AFC U20 Championship, which Viet Nam have already crashed out of.

So if the man hired to develop the national team into a continental force is against a long mid-season break, if fans are against it and the coaches of several V.League 1 teams are against it, who is in favour of this nonsense?

Coach Park Hang-seo certainly was in favour of extending national team training camps, but he’s no longer in charge, Troussier is, so those in power over the domestic game should start taking his opinion into consideration.

Moving from a stop-start and not very strenuous league season to playing 40-50 matches a year might initially be tough for local players, but the results in the long term would be worth it.

And of course if we had a normal league schedule, those of us who write a weekly column about domestic football would have a much easier time picking what to write about each week! VNS


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Arnis team won’t just stick to what they know at SEA Games 32



The Vietnamese arnis team training for the SEA Games 32. — Photo courtesy of

SEA Games 

HÀ NỘI — As the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games approach, the Vietnamese arnis team is preparing themselves for the upcoming competition with the lofty aim of clinching three gold medals.

The traditional Filipino martial arts team, consisting of 23 members, is set to compete in a total of 12 events, which includes eight combat events and four performance-based competitions.

In order to accomplish their ambitious goal, the team has been training tirelessly, dedicating themselves to four intense training sessions a day.

“Because the regional event is coming near, the training board and athletes are determined to increase the intensity of training to reach our goal,” said coach Nguyễn Thái Linh.

Vietnamese martial artists also competed in this sport in the 30th Games in the Philippines. However, until the 31st Games, this sport was not organised.

The 32nd SEA Games, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the northwestern Cambodian City of Siem Reap from May 5-16, will be the first time the event has featured at the games outside of the Philippines.

Many of the Vietnamese athletes participating in this sport come from other sports, not those who specialise in this one.

Arnis has its own characteristics, so the process of selecting and converting athletes from other martial arts is not always easy.

“Although it is a new sport, since the Games 2019 in the Philippines, we also had a number of athletes compete in this sport and achieved achievements in the combat categories,” Linh added. “But this time, we met difficulties as some athletes have retired. The hosts have also placed limitations on the weight classes.”

The Vietnamese team will be supported by experts from the Philippines to improve their skills.


Đào Thị Hồng Nhung, who won gold in the Games in the Philippines in 2019, will feature again. However, gaining gold will be not easy for the champion.

“I am a pencak silat athlete,” Nhung said. “When I compete in arnis, I have to use a stick and only use one hand, so everything has to start from the beginning.”

“The whole team have been training new techniques. The biggest difficulty for us is technical issues.”

The subtle differences compared to other martial arts mean athletes must adjust their fighting style. 

Công Quốc, a Muay Thai athlete, is one of those trying to make the change. 

“Compared to Muay Thai, in arnis fighters use a stick, wear shoes and have a different way of moving, so it’s a bit surprising,” Quốc said. “But as athletes, we already have good fitness and expertise, we just need to add more techniques.” VNS


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