Huge reward to infuse national pride: Yes or No

October 12, 2011 | 16:00
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Is it worthy to give them a cash prize of $1 million if Vietnam’s national U-23 football team wins the Southeast Asian Games to be hosted in Indonesia next month?


Two sponsors, each promising to give $500,000 for the team if they bring home the trophy, say yes. A large number of fans, however, have cried no arguing that it’s better to leave the players to compete on behalf of the national flag rather than money.

“Please don’t habituate players to prized money. How will they play in the future events without promise of rewards?” a fan who introduced himself as Nguyen Hong Tan wrote to Tuoi Tre.

Another fan named Tran Duy Huy wrote, “It doesn’t seem OK to make an early announcement of the reward. We did the same thing at previous events and the result was not as good as we expected because it put our players under a lot of psychological pressure.”

Others express a degree of moderate support for the idea, commenting that, “It’s OK to use any way including money to stir up aspiration of victory from the players.”

But the sponsors have their own reasons for dangling a big reward in front of the players, too.

Doan Nguyen Duc, boss of V-League club Hoang Anh Gia Lai and chairman of one of the finest business groups -- Hoang Anh Gia Lai in Vietnam with its annual post-tax profit of over VND2 trillion ($100 million) – says it’s lawful for him to do it.

“My group is in good business, earns high profit, and eagerly takes part in social and charitable activities.

“Being a businessman, it’s only right for me to make some monetary contributions to the national football team.

“Remember that this is the national team, not a club. I’ve never used money to illegally lure players from other clubs to join me.

“I want to spend that big sum to motivate our players to play to win the title so that all the Vietnamese people can rejoice at their victory,” Duc said.

The deep-pocketed chairman also commented that one of the biggest dreams of all Vietnamese people is to see the national team raising the trophy at the SEA Games after 52 years of waiting.

“Apart from spending money on the national team, every fan knows that I have spent millions of dollars a year training young players at my Hoang Anh Gia Lai – Arsenal JMG Academy since 2007,” Duc explained his aspirations to see Vietnam win the regional tournaments.

Meanwhile, the other sponsor Le Hung Dung, chairman of the executive boards of the Saigon Jewelry Company and Eximbank, offered another reason why he decided to pump such a huge sum into the national team.

“I don’t think any Vietnamese fans can forget our loss at the final games of SEA Games 1998 and 2009 when Vietnam was stronger than our rivals Singapore and Malaysia.

“But we lost. Not only I but the chief referee officiating the final game in 1998, Kim Young Joo, suspected that some of our players manipulated the result of the match,” Dung noted.

“Educating the players about the spirit of sportsmanship and the need to put national pride above all else is always necessary but it’s a long-term job. It’s not pragmatic to start doing it now and expect our team to develop those qualities when we have just a month until the SEA Games start next month.

“Duc and I are willing to do everything we can to see the Vietnam team win at the coming event. More importantly, I don’t want our fans to suffer another humiliating defeat like those we saw in 1998 and 2009,” Dung said.

Tuoi tre

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