World Cup trophy arrives in City
The FIFA World Cup Trophy arrived in Viet Nam on a charter plane that landed at HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport on Monday.
The famous icon from the sport’s world will be in the country for three days.
The trophy has been awarded to the winners of the World Cup since 1974.
The trophy cup was brought to the Caravelle Hotel for a press conference, where the organisers of the tour announced the trophy’s itinerary in Viet Nam.
Today, Vietnamese football fans will have a chance to take commemorative photos with the golden trophy.
The trophy will travel through 86 countries and Viet Nam is the second stop on the icon’s international tour entitled “FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour”.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa kicks off on June 11.
Luong favourite to win Golden Ball
National left winger Pham Thanh Luong is the favourite for this year’s Golden Ball – the country’s top annual football award.
Last year, Luong, 22, won Best Youth Player after a stellar performance in the AFF-Suzuki Cup in 2008.
The “little boy” shone in both the national seniors and U-23 teams in the Asian Cup qualifiers and the Southeast Asian Games.
Last year, Nghe An-born goalkeeper Duong Hong Son won the Golden Ball, while striker Do Thi Ngoc Cham won the women’s title.
The annual awards are organised by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.
The awards this year will take place in HCM City in March.
Top athletes to enjoy sponsorship
The Viet Nam National Sports Administration will select the best 60 athletes from 10 sports for major sponsorship this year.
The country is eyeing between four to six gold medals and to finish in the top 15 at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, later this year.
Each athlete will be sponsored to the tune of at least US$100,000, which should cover the cost of medicines and training for the Asian Games and the Olympics.
An 11-member squad attended the Athens Olympics in 2004 but failed to win a medal.
At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, women’s taekwondo artist Tran Hieu Ngan won a silver medal, the country’s first at the games.
In the Beijing Olympics in 2008, weight lifter Hoang Anh Tuan also won a silver medal in the men’s 56kg class. — VNS