Saturday , July 13 2024

A hard lesson for the future

Many would say that results at the youth level do not reflect the true state of a football nation, but for me, this is a wake-up call for the administrators.


Việt Nam U16s were hammered 0-5 by Indonesia on July 3, lengthening the losing streak of Vietnamese football against Indonesian football. Photo VFF

Anh Đức

HÀ NỘI Việt Nam national football teams have lost to Indonesia three times in 2024, and the streak was lengthened on July 3 with a 0-5 loss by the Việt Nam U16s against Indonesia U16s at the AFF U16 Championship.

This massive defeat is perhaps another sign that the Vietnamese football decline is still ongoing, and teams in the region who used to be catching up on us have overtaken and some have even made a gap. In the same tournament, Thailand, another local rival, nearly beat giants Australia on penalties in the final.

Many would say that results at the youth level do not reflect the true state of a football nation, but for me, this is a wake-up call for the administrators.

At the senior level, many can see that tenured players such as Đỗ Hùng Dũng, Quế Ngọc Hải, etc. are declining in form after years of contribution, but the next generations cannot yet replace them. The youth revolution is happening across Southeast Asia, while Việt Nam is still dependent on the golden generation.

Problems that Việt Nam U16s met at this tournament were somewhat similar to their older generations: a lackluster attack and a defense prone to mistakes.

Trần Minh Chiến’s team drew 1-1 to Cambodia in what many perceived as their first warning. They had an easy group and romped through Brunei and Myanmar to advance in first place, and face Thailand in the semifinals.

The mistakes in defense haunted the Young Warriors again in the semis, as they lost the game in the final minutes despite having taken the lead.

And the third-place match was nothing but a capitulation, a result even coach Trần Minh Chiến said was ‘shocking’.

When we look at countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, their league system created chances for young local players to progress and shine, even at the highest level.

Whereas in Việt Nam, despite the V.League 2 having a local-players-only rule, the level of play is not the highest and comparisons to what young players in Thailand and Indonesia experience weekly are irrelevant.

Việt Nam desperately needs an overhaul in the league system, to find a playing style that fits and to make it uniform across the youth levels, to create a ‘Việt Nam Football DNA’.

Many say that Vietnamese football has a ten-year success cycle, culminating in years ending with the number eight (1998, 2008, 2018).

This cycle, in my opinion, must be shortened, if not, stopped. This crazy football-loving nation deserves a better team, a better league and a better future.

If Vietnamese football keeps on looking at the past and does not move, it will not be other countries that overtake us in football, but it will be other sports that overtake football in Việt Nam.

And I’d have no problems writing about Vietnamese basketball. VNS

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