Crowds of fans have queued up at the office of the Vietnam Football Federation and My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi since midnight to buy tickets for a Southeast Asian under-19 championship game between Vietnam and Japan, scheduled for Tuesday evening.
The fans were patient enough to keep their positions despite a heavy rain early this morning.
They started queuing up there from midnight, a local policeman said.
Tran Duc Hoa, a staff member of Hong Ha Company in Hanoi, said many others and him stood there yesterday but failed to obtain a ticket.
So he decided to stand in line from 2:30 am today when it was still dark.
Another fan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, “I have enough money to buy tickets on the black market to spare me this queuing. But honestly, I don’t want to help those who earn money that way.”
“In addition, standing here gives me the chance to feel the love of football from other fans,” the football (soccer) fan explained.
“I asked my firm for a two-day leave to buy some tickets for this match.”
Nguyen Xuan Vu, a student at Construction University in Hanoi, said his classmates and him joined the queue at 3:00 am today and was barged in front of a large throng at 9:00 am.
Vu said he witnessed another student beaten up on Tuesday morning for asking some ‘black market’ men to get in line.
Police said that there was a fight between a group of students and ‘black market’ men over the standing positions in the long line to the ticket offices.
Hosts Vietnam will take on Japan at 7:00 pm today in their last group stage match at the AFF Nutifood U-19 Cup 2014.
Both sides have already secured tickets to advance to the semifinals after defeating Australia.
On Friday, Vietnam edged past Australia 1-0 and Japan beat the Young Socceroos 4-3 on Sunday.
A training opportunity
The Nutifood Cup, taking place from September 5 to 13, has six competing teams, including Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Japan, Australia, and Vietnam.
The first three are in Group A whereas the others are placed in Group B.
The competition is actually a training chance for all the six teams, who have won spots in the final round of the 2014 Asian U-19 Football Championship to be organized in Myanmar from October 9 to 23.
Vietnam will play in Group C against Japan, South Korea, and China at the event featuring 16 teams.
They target to top their group to automatically secure one of the four direct tickets to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, to be held in New Zealand between May 30 and June 20, 2015.