Vietnam is a ‘great football country’ and FIFA will provide more support to continue boosting its development, Gianni Infantino, president of the sport’s world governing body, said in Hanoi.
Infantino left Oman during his Asian tour for a one-day trip to the Vietnamese capital on Thursday, where he met with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Sports Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien, and visited a youth football training center.
The FIFA president also held a meeting with representatives from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), where he spoke highly of the country’s recent achievements in the sport, including its presence at the 2017 U20 World Cup, its quarterfinal berth at the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship, and its second place finish at the AFC U23 Championship.
|FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks to the media during a visit to the Vietnam Football Federation in Hanoi on February 8, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Infantino underlined that these feats were not sheer luck but instead were the hard-earned results of efforts made by the Vietnamese government and several other relevant agencies to promote youth training and the development of the sport in the country.
The FIFA president added that his organization will continue to support the FIFA Goal Project in Vietnam by providing financial resources, building a laboratory and high-quality training room, and offering referee training.
These initiatives will contribute to rounding out youth football training programs in particular and promote general football development, Infantino underlined.
Vietnam has been selected by FIFA to participate in a pilot project to develop women’s football over an 18-month period, during which the organization will send experts to the Southeast Asian country to help the VFF build a long-term program for the plan, according to the president.
At the reception for Infantino, PM Phuc told his guest that Vietnam has a great love for football and his government is paying close attention to the development of the sport.
After Vietnam made history by finishing as the runners-up at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship last month, the government requested that all agencies and sectors apply the same strong spirit that the U23 team exhibited at the competition to their own work.
Vietnam U23s played like real warriors in an arctic-conditions finale in China on January 27, when they lost 1-2 to Uzbekistan in extra time.
In response, the FIFA president expressed his thanks to the Vietnamese government and people for their support for the country’s football program, adding that he believes Vietnam’s football will reap more successes in the near future.
|FIFA president Gianni Infantino (L) kicks a ball in front of the media during a visit to the Vietnam Football Federation in Hanoi on February 8, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Infantino is the highest FIFA official to ever visit Vietnam.
Football is inarguably the most popular sport in the country of 93 million, which currently stands at 112th place on the FIFA ranking.
The second-place at the U23 championship was Vietnam’s best finish in an Asia-wide football competition.
The Golden Stars only won the Southeast Asian championship once in 2008.