Asean football c'ship group stage expected to heat up Hanoi

Football fans in Vietnam are eager for a great upcoming December as the Asean Football Championship, known as the AFF Suzuki Cup, will take place in the country and Indonesia – co-hosts for the group stage of the biennial competition.

The stadiums for the games in Hanoi and Jakarta will are expected to see massive crowds again as they did before. Indonesia co-hosted the tournament in 2002 and 2008 while Vietnam were hosts in 1998 and co-hosts in 2004.

A file photo shows Vietnamese fans cheer during a match of the Vietnamese national football team (Photo: T. Thuy)

Vietnam-based Boss Paints, an official sponsor in this year’s tournament, has disbursed almost VND10 billion (nearly US$500,000) for this sponsorship deal as well as a sponsor for holders Vietnam, says Boss Paints director Vo Quoc Thong.

He adds more than 200 “Boss Paints” fans have so far put their names down with his company, 4 Oranges, to join a national campaign designed by the Ho Chi Minh City-based corporation to support the reigning champions’ December campaign for the defense of their AFF Suzuki Cup title.
 
The players, under Portuguese coach Henrique Calisto, have been doing homework for weeks in Hanoi, where Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines will play their Group B stage from December 2-8.

Striker star Le Cong Vinh, who scored the goal against Thailand that secured the title for Vietnam in December 2008, is recovering from surgery, treatment for his injury, and is due not to feature in the competition.
 
The Group B stage is scheduled for Dec. 1-8 in Jakarta for Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Laos.

The semifinals and finals will be played on home and away basis like in 2008.

Laos and the Philippines survived October’s qualifying round, while Cambodia and Timor Leste failed. 

Remarking the survivors, Englishman Steve Darby, who has coaching experience in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam at club and national level and is currently technical director of the Football Association of Thailand, wrote that they have “very different styles though both teams are coached by Englishmen David Booth and Simon McMenemy.”

He wrote on the AFF Suzuki Cup website, “The Philippines were the biggest surprise to me when I watched them. Basically, they had done their homework and found many players playing professional abroad who were qualified to turn out for the national team.

“Of course, Laos were not of the same physical stature but they played excellent football with quick interpassing.
 
“I believe this will be an even better AFF Suzuki Cup than two years ago,” the English expert wrote.

By Tuong Thuy

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