Vietnamese players training in Singapore for the AFF Cup. The VFF hope that 20,000 fans will be able to attend Việt Nam's next 2022 World Cup qualification match on February 1. — Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) has requested that 20,000 supporters be allowed to attend the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Việt Nam and China on February 1.
The match will be played at Mỹ Đình Stadium in Hà Nội, which has a maximum capacity of 40,000 fans.
The Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Hoàng Đạo Cương has agreed with the proposal, providing the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in time. February 1 is the first day of Việt Nam's Tết (Lunar New Year) Festival.
Việt Nam's games against Japan and Saudi Arabia last month, also played at Mỹ Đình Stadium, were attended by 12,000 supporters.
Deputy Minister Cương asked the organisers to make plans for more people to attend upcoming games, to meet the high demands of local supporters and to provide more encouragement for coach Park Hang-seo and his team.
After the China game, Việt Nam will face Oman on March 24.
Việt Nam are currently in last place in Group B after losing all six of their matches so far.
In AFF Cup news, Việt Nam national team trained in a COVID-secure bubble in Singapore on Thursday after all members returned negative COVID-19 tests.
Coach Park Hang-seo is without defender Đỗ Hùng Dũng, who has not yet received permission to enter Singapore.
Dũng was a late call-up for the national team, meaning his entry documents have not yet been processed.
When the reigning champions flew to Singapore on December 1, Dũng had to go back home and wait. As a result, he is a doubt for Việt Nam's opening match against Laos on Monday.
Midfielder Nguyễn Hoàng Đức has been highlighted as one of ten potential stars of this year's cup by ESPN.
Their website claims that: "Although Nguyễn Quang Hải has been one of the catalysts behind Việt Nam's rise over the past four years, there are some in Vietnamese football circles who believe his talent could be matched by Nguyễn Hoàng Đức.
"While Hải excels more in the attacking third, Đức is equally influential in the defensive aspect of the game as he is offensively, and is also a real threat from dead-ball situations, even if he is currently lower in the pecking than the former."
Other players tipped for success include Thanawat Suengchitthawon (Thailand), Yrick Gallantes (Philippines), Nur Adam Abdullah (Singapore), Witan Sulaeman (Indonesia) and Luqman Hakim Shamsudin (Malaysia). — VNS