(VOV) – Vietnamese football has witnessed a 2013 filled with both joy and sadness.
- Vietnam football climbs 14 FIFA rankings
- Football team effort key to SEA Games success
- Vietnam to host regional U19 football champs
- Arsenal FC plays a friendly in Vietnam
Premier League Arsenal FC had a its first friendly match against Vietnam’s national squad, winning 7-1. Despite the defeat, the match— sponsored by Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group and Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank)—offered Vietnamese footballers invaluable experience against a truly world class opponent.
The global football community also took note of the zeal of Vietnamese fandom, exemplified in the viral internet star “Running Man” Vu Xuan Tien. The Hai Duong-born man was invited to watch Arsenal matches in London.
- U19 Vietnam triumph at U19 Asian Champ qualifiers
Coached by Guillaume Graechen, Vietnamese players stole the show, winning all three qualifying round Asian Championship matches. They were praised for a fair play tactic.
At the later U19 ASEAN Football Championship, they cruised to the final round and were outperformed by their Indonesian opponents after a penalty shootout.
- Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has new president
Nguyen Trong Hy resigned from the VFF Presidency before the 27th SEA Games.
VFF Vice President Le Hung Dung was unanimously elected to succeed him. He immediately had an impact, sacking referees found to be match-fixing and awarding the honest officials uncovering corruption.
- V-League wracked with controversy
The 2013 V-League season was more stain than celebration, ranging from referee match-fixing and the sacking of the chief and deputy chief of referees to Kien Giang’s refusal to finish the competition. The year did nothing to bolster the reputation of Vietnam’s most senior football competition.
- The national squad and U23 team fail
The national squad was eliminated from 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers after five successive defeats. The U23 team did not make it past the qualifying round at the 27th SEA Games.
The failures speak to the weaknesses of Vietnamese national football and its urgent need for restructuring and reform.