|The V-League 2014 will probably begin amidst much gloom about the country's football future, after Vietnamese football experienced a series of defeats at all levels in international competitions last year.— Photo dantri
HA NOI (VNS)— The new season for Viet Nam's top-flight football league, the V-League 2014, kicks off this afternoon amidst indifference from fans following Viet Nam football's worst showing last season.
The V-League 2014 will probably begin amidst much gloom about the country's football future, after Vietnamese football experienced a series of defeats at all levels in international competitions last year.
The senior national team lost all five matches in the Asian Cup Qualifiers, while the national U23 team failed to go beyond the group stage at the Southeast Asian Games last month, and the fever of the national U19 team declined after the team was dismantled 7-0 by the Japanese U19 team in front of home fans.
All of those forgettable results, compounded with the V-League 2013 scandals on and off the field, really took away the attention of fans from the 14 year-old professional league.
Nghe An recruit Cameroon striker
V-League's former champions Song Lam Nghe An have signed on their second foreign player for the new season.
Edouard Ndjodo, a Cameroon striker, is said to be an experienced player who has previously played in Austria, Hungary and Greece.
The 29-year-old has an ideal height of 1.91m, which is believed to be an important asset in playing high balls.
Earlier, his countryman Biyaga Paul Emile joined Nghe An under a one-year contract. The 26-year-old former national team forward played for Haras El-Hodood SC, the best club in Egypt, before moving to Viet Nam. He was a member of Cameroon's U23 and wore the national jersey in four matches.
The two sportsmen travelled with the whole team on Wednesday to Quang Ninh Province in preparation for their V-League's opening round match against host Quang Ninh Coal today. — VNS
"I do not know, I have not heard of it," said a football fan, whose job is collecting money from a parking lot across the street from the Hang Day Stadium, when asked about the opening round of the V-League 2014.
"I have not minded watching the local national football competitions for many years because of its poor quality and nonsense issues on and off the field," he said, asking to remain anonymous.
Some meetings have been held by the football governing body, since the closing day of the last season, though nothing has been done, except for making hollow promises, which are made at the beginning of every season.
Three early matches will take place on Saturday, with Ha Noi T&T hosting Becamex Binh Duong in a match which can be the game of the round, given their past achievements and the qualified players at their disposal.
Defending champions Ha Noi T&T have not only kept most of their key players, except for the departure of captain Cristiano Roland, but also consolidated the squad with new additions.
Of note, Coach Phan Thanh Hung and his players have sent out a clear message that they want another title.
However, it will not be an easy task for the Ha Noi-based team to get off to a good start today, as Binh Duong have made a massive change to their football club this season, with two-thirds of the squad being new players.
Binh Duong, under new coach Nguyen Minh Dung, boasts many talented players, such as defender Au Van Hoan, midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang, and striker Nguyen Anh Duc, who are members of the national teams.
Newcomers Quang Ninh, who were promoted to the V-League this season, will play their first V-League match against Song Lam Nghe An, which is much weakened following the departure of top players, despite the return of star striker Le Cong Vinh.
The third match today is between Dong Nai and Ninh Binh. It promises to be a tight contest as a respectable Dong Nai comes up against the Super Cup champs.
Last year's runners-up, SHB Da Nang, are very likely to celebrate at Chi Lang as the home team remain favourites over Dong Tam Long An.
Also, Thanh Hoa is expected to have a tough trip to Hai Phong, which made a surprise change at the dugout, replacing coach Hoang Anh Tuan with Englishman Dylan Kerr, Tuan's fitness assistant.
Hung Vuong An Giang and QNK Quang Nam will be seeking their first V-League wins, as two newly-promoted teams lock horns on Sunday at Quang Nam. — VNS