Football managers and fans gave praise and encouragement to the U19 national team although they only finished in second place at the ASEAN U19 Football Championships.
Indonesia defeated Vietnam 7-6 in a penalty shootout to claim the championship cup on their home turf on September 22.
After endless scandals about match-fixing and miserable defeats of the U23 team and the senior National team in the past, the steady progress of the U19 players in the ASEAN U19 Championships has somewhat restored the fans’ passion for domestic football.
The sportsmanship and spirit which were shown by the team stayed with the fans even though they lost the final against Indonesia. Vietnamese football fans are all optimistic about the gifts of these players, and they believe they represent the future of Vietnamese football.
Ever since the ‘golden era’ of the U16 team in 2000, the fans can now dare to put their hopes on the future of Vietnamese football once again. Many football lovers said they felt very proud of the team.
Doan Nguyen Duc, one of the biggest football moguls in Vietnam and one of the founders of Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Arsenal JMG, where most of the players began, said, “I’m proud of them no matter what. They made me feel so emotional. I think this is a success and I’ll continue to invest in our young generation. Hopefully, they’ll become the pillars of the U23 national team,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese manager and coach, Guillaume Graechen, has expressed his discontent with the Indonesian team for their brutal playing style and with the Thai referee for turning a blind eye to such dirty play.
Coach Guillaume Graechen said whoever watched the match will see that the referee ignored many of the fouls committed by the Indonesian team. He said even though this is only a tournament for young players, it doesn’t mean that the rules should be abandoned, but, that’s just how life works sometimes.
“Our young players, are so brave. They faced the game head on until the end, and even though we don’t have the champions cup, I know the fans will give their sincere praises to this fine performance.” Duong Vu Lam, chief of the referee’s department of the Vietnam Football Federation said.