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Thứ 4, Ngày 20/08/2014, 10:00
AFF Cup flop needs sober reflection
20/08/2014
Viet Nam 's elimination from the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2010 capped a significantly unsuccessful year for national football in the regional arena.

After scaling euphoric heights by winning the AFF Cup in 2008, Vietnamese football has come down to earth, firmly.

After co-hosting the Asian Cup 2007, Vietnamese football experienced considerable progress, culminating in victory at the AFF Cup two years ago.

The next year was also a positive one as the nation's top-tier V-League saw the emergence of former football star, Le Huynh Duc, as a prospective young coach. Duc led Da Nang to a comprehensive win at the nation's top championship.

Meanwhile, Binh Duong made history by becoming the first Vietnamese football club to reach the semi-finals at a continental level competition, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.

And then the national Olympic team (Under 23) put in an impressive performance on their way to the finals of the 25th SEA Games in Laos.

However, the momentum of the previous three years was not carried successfully into 2010.

In the last 12 months, there has been no promising result in competitions both at the club and national team level at regional competitions.

False dawn

After beating Thailand to take the AFF Cup 2008, many fans, experts and even the players themselves seemed to take it for granted that Vietnamese football level has surpassed other countries, especially Malaysia, as local clubs hammered Malaysian counterparts at the AFC Cup.

Star striker Le Cong Vinh, who scored the decisive goal in the final two years ago to help the country win the first AFF Cup, and missed out this year because of injury, had predicted that Viet Nam would reach the final before the semi-final matches.

An Olympic defender had also said that Viet Nam would beat Malaysia while an official of the Ha Noi Football Federation, said that Viet Nam had reached a certain (higher) class as a result of a highly-competitive football championship, V-League and exposure to international competitions.

These people, however, did not take into consideration the role foreign and naturalised players play in the V-League. The success of V-League as well as clubs like Da Nang and Binh Duong at AFC Cup can be significantly attributed to players like Argentina's Gaston Merlo, South African Philani or Brazilian-born Huynh Kesley.

After a wonderful start with a 7-1 demolition of Myanmar, the team seemed to adopt the pride of defending champions, choosing to go on the offensive against all teams.

This strategy failed both times, against the Philippines and Malaysia.

For football fans, the losses were salt rubbed into the wound of the SEA Games defeat against Malaysia in Laos last year.

The defeats have re-ignited the debate about using naturalised players, but if we take the long-term view for the benefit of the national team, it is better to focus on building a really professional football environment and creating more opportunities for talented young local players to improve their skills.

Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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LONG AN PORTAL
Line Agency: People's Committee of Long An Province
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License No. 01 / GP-TTDT-STTTT dated March 3, 2015 - Department of Information and Communications