Viet Nam News takes a look at what got the domestic footballing world talking in 2011
1. The humiliating loss of Viet Nam's U23 football team at the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia in November.
Under German coach Falko Goetz, the team was expected to bring home the country's first ever gold medal. Poor performances at the region's biennial tournament left them struggling to make it through the group stages before losing 0-1 to the hosts in the semi-finals. To compound matters, they went on to lose the third place play off 0-1 against Myanmar, having beaten the same side 5-0 in the VFF Cup in HCM City a month earlier.
2. Ha Noi ACB Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien directly ‘attacked' the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) at its year-end conference.
Kien revealed the shortcomings and inefficiency of the national football management body. The VFF promised to lead Viet Nam to a professional football level 10 years ago, but change has been slow.
3. Chairman Kien continued his crusade as one of the founders of the Viet Nam Professional Football Company (VPF), which will replace the VFF to manage domestic tournaments.
The VPF was established on December 14 with two main targets: transparent football and reinvesting profits from the game into its development.
The VPF is chaired by Vo Quoc Thang who is also chairman of Dong Tam Long An. Thang is assisted by three deputies — Kien, Doan Nguyen Duc of Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Le Hung Dung, the VFF deputy chairman.
4. German coach Falko Goetz enjoyed a short stay in Viet Nam.
Arriving in Viet Nam with an impressive CV, Goetz was expected to lift Viet Nam in regional and international football.
However, only six months after he signed a contract, the VFF decided to pay him US$66,000 in compensation to terminate it.
The 49-year-old was blamed for Viet Nam's failure at the SEA Games.
5. The resignation of VFF General Secretary Tran Quoc Tuan.
Tuan came under overwhelming pressure from the public following the SEA Games, and decided to step down despite calls for him to stay from fellow VFF leaders.
6. Henrique Calisto said goodbye to Viet Nam after 10 years.
The Portuguese coach played a key role in the improvement of national football as a club and national team trainer.
Calisto discovered many young talented players who went on to become indispensable for Dong Tam Long An and the national team.
He is also the only one of eight foreign coaches to win an international title with Viet Nam, having triumphed in the Southeast Asian Football Federation Cup in 2008.
Calisto decided to stop working in Viet Nam in March and moved to Thailand, but after struggling there, retuned home.
7. Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) finally reclaimed the V-League crown.
They were unfancied at the start of the season, but impressed with a series of consistent displays.
SLNA overthrew defending champions Ha Noi T&T in the final game of the season to end their 10-year wait.
They later defeated Navibank Sai Gon to take their fourth Super Cup title.
8. Refereeing is one of the worst problems in Viet Nam.
The quality and morality of referees have strongly affected the results of matches.
In 2011, four referees were dismissed following intrigue involving on and off the field activities.
Just a few games into the new season, and two referees have already been fined this month.
9. Young teams triumphed at international events.
Viet Nam's U21 team overcame powerful rivals such as Thailand, Iran and Qatar's Aspire Academy to win the Thanh Nien Newspaper's International U21 Football Championship in September.
The U19 team also won silver at the regional tournament, earning themselves a place at the Asian Championship which will be held next year.
10. Hoa Phat Ha Noi fold.
In their eight years in the V-League, Hoa Phat may not have challenged for the title, but the dark horses did spoil many contenders' ambitions. — VNS