SINGAPORE – In December 2006, Vietnamese soccer hit its nadir when the nationwide workforce slumped to 172nd on the planet rankings. But in simply 15 years, the Golden Dragons have managed to elevate themselves not simply out of the doldrums however right into a golden period.
Ranked 99th now, they’re the one Asean workforce within the high 100 and the third spherical of the World Cup qualifiers. Whereas they’ve misplaced all their matches in opposition to Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, Oman and China, they proved exhausting to beat and by no means misplaced by greater than two targets.
Having rubbed shoulders with Asia’s elite, Vietnam followers will count on their workforce to retain their Suzuki Cup title.
Soccer marketing consultant Dzung Le, who was additionally the previous chief govt of V.League 2 facet Pho Hien, mentioned: “The present Vietnam nationwide workforce are the perfect we’ve got had. Our closest competitors will most likely be Thailand however in the event you ask anybody from Vietnam, they may inform you that they totally count on us to win the Suzuki Cup this 12 months.”
The important thing to their outstanding rise might be traced to the Central Highlands, the place the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Academy – the nation’s first soccer coaching centre – was arrange in 2007 underneath a partnership with English Premier League facet Arsenal, French soccer faculty JMG Academy and Vietnamese conglomerate Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
Thirty gamers are hand-picked yearly, and it’s mentioned that these pre-teens begin off barefooted and are allowed to put on boots solely after they’ve mastered juggling the ball.
Thereafter, they prepare 5 hours a day on the state-of-the-art facility with manicured pitches and swimming swimming pools, and in addition obtain high quality educational training on website.
The children dwell in villas and sometimes graduate after seven years to affix V.League groups; at the least 10 from the inaugural batch of trainees are with V.League 1 facet Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC now.
Different non-public academies adopted, such because the Promotion Fund of Vietnamese Soccer Expertise (PVF) Soccer Academy which enlisted Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs to be its director to coach and consider senior coaches.
Final 12 months, it grew to become the primary soccer academy in South-east Asia to be conferred the very best grade of three stars by the Asian Soccer Confederation. The grading is a part of the regional physique’s Elite Youth Scheme aimed toward lifting improvement programmes in AFC member nations.
Academies are rated on 20 efficiency classes spanning throughout administration, services and programmes, in addition to player-centric elements equivalent to welfare, psychology and training.
V.League golf equipment Viettel and Ha Noi additionally hopped onto the bandwagon, organising academies so as to add to the conveyor belt of younger expertise. Such funding in youth improvement paid off when the Vietnam Beneath-23s completed second within the AFC U-23 Championship and fourth on the 2018 Asian Video games earlier than profitable the 2019 SEA Video games gold.
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