After scaling euphoric heights by winning the AFF Cup in 2008, Vietnamese football has come down to earth, firmly.
co-hosting the Asian Cup 2007, Vietnamese football experienced
considerable progress, culminating in victory at the AFF Cup two years
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
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.
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.
the last 12 months, there has been no promising result in competitions
both at the club and national team level at regional competitions.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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