Fans place high hope in a promising U-19 Vietnam

January 04, 2014 | 08:38
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The Vietnamese national U-19 football team has become ‘the favorite child’ in the eyes of local football fans who place high expectations in them at the upcoming tournaments like the friendly Nutifood Cup and the 2014 Asian U-19 Football Championship.

The team is now at the center of public attention thanks to its fantastic performances at the Southeast Asian U-19 Champ in September in Indonesia, where it won a silver medal, as well as thanks to the reputation of its incubator: Hoang Anh Gia Lai – Arsenal JMG football academy which trained most of the players.

The ticket fever ahead of the Nutifood Cup to kick off from January 6-10 in Ho Chi Minh City proves the public interest in the team. The friendly U-19 tournament has four participant teams of Vietnam, Japan, Tottenham, and AS Roma.

U-19 fever

Thong Nhat Stadium in HCMC has not seen such a ticket fever prior to the start of a youth tournament in many years.

In the past two days, booths of the stadium had hundreds of fans queuing to buy tickets from the early morning every day for the next week’s matches.

The long line included elderly people aged 60s and 70s.

“I am eager to watch the matches of the U-19 team. I read on newspapers that this generation of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai – Arsenal school will be the future of Vietnamese football,” said the 74-year-old Pham Van Nghi.

The sale of tickets in the black market has been bustling due to the high demand from fans while the capacity of the stadium is around 40,000 seats.

Besides queuing to buy tickets themselves, scalpers also hire aged people to queue up for them since organizers give priority to the elderly.

Matches of the Nutifood Cup will be aired live on channels of VTV, HTV, BTV, VTC, and Bóng đá (Football) TV.

After the Nutifood Cup, the Vietnamese team will have two long-term training trips in Belgium and England this year to prepare for the 2014 Asian U-19 Football Championship to be held in October in Myanmar. Vietnam sets a goal to win one of the four direct tickets to advance to the final round of the U-20 World Cup in 2015 in New Zealand.

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