Next Football Season to Kick off Later than Usual

Viet Nam’s next football season will begin in March instead of the usual December or January as the national team will be competing in the 2007 Southeast Asian Championship until late February, after which the national under-23 team must play in the qualifiers for the Beijing Olympics.

On Oct. 14 in Ha Noi, Olympic Viet Nam take the trophy of the Capital Cup, in which U-21 Thailand came second and U-21 Malaysia third (Photo: SGGP)

The Viet Nam Football Federation has scheduled February 10 for the Super Cup match between V-League champions Dong Tam Long An Tiles and National Cup winners Hoa Phat Ha Noi.

The V-League and First Division will begin the season in earnest on March 4.

Because the competition period will be shorter than in previous seasons, the clubs will have to play three matches a week in the second stage so that both divisions can finish in late September.

For this reason, the VFF has allowed each of the 14 V-League clubs to sign up a maximum of 30 players instead of the 25 last season. Up to five of the players can be foreigners, but only three can be on the field of play at the same time.

Foreign players in a V-League match

The 14 first-division clubs, however, can sign up only three foreign players, and only two of them can play at the same time. In the National Cup, each club can likewise register three foreign players, and all three can play together.

The VFF says it has prepared the match schedules for the V-League, National Cup and First Division but will not announce the timetables until the Asian Football Confederation publicizes the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup schedules.

The delay is due to the V-League champions Dong Tam Long An Tiles and National Cup winners Hoa Phat Ha Noi playing in the AFC tournaments.

In the last season, 13 clubs competed in the V-League from January to August 2006 and defending champions Dong Tam Long An retained the trophy.

Dong Tam Long An Club’s coaches Huynh Ngoc San (L) and Henrique Calisto praised by Long An Province officials (Photo: Tuong Thuy)

The 379 goals scored in the 24 rounds worked out at an average of 2.4 goals a match. Saigon Port striker De Jesus from Brazil was the top scorer with 18 goals.

Preparations

Because of the delayed start to the season, the V-League and first-division clubs have more time to prepare for 2007, a year when the Vietnamese national team will be competing in the Asian Championship for the first time.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai, who were the V-League champions from 2002 to 2004 and came fourth in the last season, plan to spend November training in London. Club boss Doan Nguyen Duc has just returned from visiting London-based English Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Henrique Calisto, the Portuguese coach of champions Dong Tam Long An, is also very busy these days preparing a winning team for next season and for the AFC Champions League.

Binh Duong, who came second in the league just one point behind the champions, are just as ambitious. In previous seasons, they started off strongly, actually topping the table at one stage, but then fell off after the mid-season break, and the club’s management want to change this trend for the better.

In recent years Binh Duong has been spending big bucks on new players thanks to its generous and financially strong sponsors.

As for Binh Dinh, who came third in the last season, they are continuing to rely on their Thai players to keep the club at or at least near the top of the ladder.

Related links
Viet Nam Football Federation

Reported by Tuong Thuy

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