|Defending champs: Becamex Binh Duong will take on Can Tho in a first round match of the V.League 1 2016. — Photo hff.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Becamex Binh Duong will start their V.League 1 title defending journey with a clash against ambitious Can Tho in the national premier league 2016 opener on February 20.
According to a draw organised on Saturday in Ha Noi, the champions will enjoy their home soil advantage where their rivals will show off new faces who are expected to bring fresh air to the team.
Kicking off the season on February 14 will be the Super Cup match between Becamex Binh Duong, the V.League 1 winner and Ha Noi T&T, the National Cup's runner-up.
The draw also brought last season's phenomenon Hoang Anh Gia Lai to play promoted Ha Noi FC in their first match with the latter as the hosts.
It is considered a tough task for the V.League 1 former champions although their rivals were just newcomers at the tournament.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai will be without their key members, Nguyen Cong Phuong, Nguyen Tuan Anh and maybe Luong Xuan Truong and several other names, who have signed or will soon sign loan contracts with foreign clubs.
Meanwhile, the youngest coach of the competition Nguyen Duc Thang and his team have expressed their great interest in their V.League 1 comeback after two years in the lower division (V.League 2).
Thang said his team is home to many talented players who were strong enough for the V.League 1.
Chairman of Ha Noi FC Nguyen Giang Dong was excited waiting for the game.
"It will really an interesting match which will lure a lot of fans as both of us will show our young line-ups. Hoang Anh Gia Lai will be suitable rivals who have more experience than us at V.League 1, but we will play on our home ground," Dong said.
The V.League 1 2016 will have 14 teams.
Apart from the above clashes, there will be games between SHB Da Nang and Dong Thap; Quang Ninh Coal and Sanna Khanh Hoa; Long An and Quang Nam; Song Lam Nghe An and Hai Phong; and FLC Thanh Hoa and Ha Noi T&T.
The tournament will end on September 18.
The team which stands in 14th position will be relegated. The 13th team will have to play a match against the winner of play-off matches between V.League 2's runner-up, third-placed and fourth-placed clubs for the last berth at V.League 1.
Saturday also saw draws of the V.League 2 and the National Cup.
The V.League 2 with 10 participants will begin on April 9 and close on August 20.
The National Cup will be kicked off on April 2 with 24 competitors and will end on September 29.
The new football season will see a revolution of the organising agent, the Viet Nam Professional Football Company (VPF), after their decision to buy injury insurance for all players, a first in Viet Nam football.
VPF also confirmed that they have found sponsors for all tournaments with further press conferences to be organised to introduce their partners. — VNS