Festive football time comes again for disadvantaged kids

Boys from Hanoi, Gia Lai, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Ca Mau and Ho Chi Minh City will meet again in this year’s national football tournament for underprivileged children, staged in the city from May 27 to 31. Cambodia and Thailand will join the competition for the first time, the organizers announced May 20.

Given with the two invited teams’ participation, the event becomes an open tournament since its inception in 1999. 

The eight teams will be divided into two groups and play at the Military Zone 7 Indoor Stadium in Phu Nhuan District, the organizers told a press briefing in HCM City. The top two teams of each group will go through to the semifinals. 

Vietnam Television will broadcast live on VTV3 Channel the opening ceremony, the opener on May 27, the final and the closing ceremony on May 31.

Dang Xuan Dung (R), chief of the organizing committee, and Hoang Cat Hai, director of VDC-Southern Region, introduce the trophy and a tournament shirt at Wednesday’s press briefing in HCM City(Photo: Thuy Nguyen)

The prizes for the champions, runners-up, third-placed and fourth-placed teams are VND20 million, VND15 million, VND10 million and VND5 million, respectively.

During their time in HCM City, the Cambodian and Thai children will visit some venues and watch a circus show. The local boys will also have some excursions and come to see a play.

The Vietnamese players are from SOS villages and charity houses and all are under 15, said Mr. Dang Xuan Dung, chief of the organizing committee and editor-in-chief of Ho Chi Minh City Police newspaper.

Ca Mau take the trophy in the 2008 tournament (Photo: Thuy Nguyen)

The newspaper is organizing the event together with The Thao Viet Nam (Vietnam Sports) newspaper, and Vietnam Data Communication Company (VDC)-Southern Region.

Mr. Dang Quang Duong, who is in charge of tournament disciplines, said the organizing committee is working with doctors from cities and provinces where the children come from to check their ages. He added Cambodian and Thai representatives have pledged with the organizing committee that their players are younger than 15.

Mr. Dung, chief of the organizing committee, said that from the six Vietnamese teams, a team will be selected to represent Vietnam in a visiting trip to Thailand and play a few friendlies.

VDC, an arm of the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Corporation (VNPT), is also this year’s main sponsor. Therefore, the tournament is called VNPT/VDC-Mega VNN Cup.

The organizers said since the first tourney was held in 1999, quite a few disadvantaged children who have joined the game have found a job as a player in different football and futsal (indoor football) clubs in the country.

By Thuy Nguyen

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