Nam Định win V.League 1 and chairman Đức’s smile

June 27, 2024 - 08:56
The owner of HAGL also has reasons to be happy, in the list of V.League 1 2023/24 champions there are many experienced players from the HAGL Academy such as Duy, Toàn and Tuấn Anh.
Striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn lifts the V.League 1 trophy with Nam Định on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy of Nam Định Club


NAM ĐỊNH Nam Định Green Steel won the Night Wolf V.League 1 2023/24 after nearly 40 years of waiting to the joy of Nam Định's fans and with the victory, scoring a smile from the chairman of Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Club, Hoàng Nguyên Đức.

Nam Định became the new champions of the national premiere league after they beat Khánh Hoà 5-1 in the penultimate match on Tuesday.

With 50 points, Nam Định increased their gap between them and the second team Bình Định to six points, thereby officially becoming the new champion of V.League 1, with a game in hand.

This is a worthy championship for Nam Định with 15 wins, five draws and five losses. With 52 goals in 25 matches, they have shown that they are the team with the best attacking side in the tournament, now the team's final match against Quảng Nam is only a formality.

The 2023/24 season title also marks a milestone of winning the V.League 1 championship after 20 years with Nam Định head coach Vũ Hồng Việt. In 2004, he won the V.League 1, while playing for HAGL.

Nam Định reaching the podium is worthy of what has been invested in the last two seasons. They recruited a series of stars of the league, from domestic to foreign players such as Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy, Nguyễn Văn Toàn, Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, Hendrio Araujo Dasilva and Rafaelson Bezerra Fernandes, creating depth in the strongest squad in the tournament.

But the trophy is not just due to financial investment, the enthusiasm spills into the stands with Nam Định's fans as they always lead the tournament in terms of audience numbers for each match. If proof were needed, in the penultimate match to take the title on Tuesday, more than 30,000 Nam Định spectators flocked to the Thiên Trường Stadium.

With such great love and investment, Nam Định regaining the championship of Việt Nam's highest football tournament after nearly four decades of waiting, was worthwhile.

Nam Định head coach Vũ Hồng Việt's obvious joy. Photo

Đức's smile

Nam Định won the championship but chairman Đức of HAGL Club could also smile. It sounds paradoxical, but the owner of HAGL had reason to be happy, because in the list of V.League 1 2023/24 champions there were several experienced players from the HAGL Academy, such as Duy, Toàn and Anh.

Those players won the V.League 1 title for the first time, something that the owner of HAGL still respects after they stepped out of the HAGL football academy nearly ten years ago.

Above all the chair respects 'fair play' and that was what Đức gave to his players, who he considers his descendants, when he agreed to let them all leave to find new destinations to be more successful in their careers.

Without Đức, with strong financials and love for football, Nam Định would also have won V.League 1. But just look at Toàn, Duy and especially Anh - a player who always seemed to be undeserving of titles and honours but turned around in joy after winning the championship with Nam Định to see that the HAGL boss's decision was correct.

After winning the 2023/24 V.League 1 championship with Nam Định, Toàn, the national team's striker said: "I always feel sad and regretful because I couldn't achieve success with HAGL. When I played for HAGL, there was a time when we were very close to something memorable. Now, when we won the title with Nam Định, I still remember the memories at HAGL. I hope HAGL will succeeded in avoiding relegation this season."

After finishing his football journey in South Korea, Toàn returned to Việt Nam to join Nam Định so in just his first season, he won an historic national championship.

Toàn contributed five goals and one assist in Nam Định's achievement but he still felt unsatisfied with himself.

"I'm still not in the best form. However, my teammates played excellently and united. This is the result of collective," Toàn said.

"The season is not over yet for Nam Định. We are still aiming to win two more titles. They are the National Cup and the National Super Cup," he added.

In the V.League 1 championship, Nam Định will participate in the AFC Cup next season.

Toàn expressed his confidence: "There is nothing surprising because I have played in the AFC Champions League before. The new format will cause Nam Định to meet many teams in Japan and South Korea. Hopefully we will play well." VNS