The football fever is gripping the Vietnamese supporters in the United Arab Emirates, where Vietnam will encounter giants at the AFC Asian Cup 2019 this month, as they are both eager for the games and buying tickets to enjoy them first-hand.
Discussing Vietnam’s prospects at the tournament, seeking tickets to the matches, and arranging work so they can attend the games are now real business for many Vietnamese people in the UAE.
The Vietnamese will clash with Iraq in Abu Dhabi on January 8, Iran in Abu Dhabi on January 12, and Yemen in Al Ain on January 16 in Group D. Iran are the title favorites while Iraq won the cup in 2007.
Some got online to book tickets over a month ago but not all of them could purchase ones for Vietnam’s opening game against Iraq.
The hosts sell tickets in person and online. It was thought that it was easier to book them online but everything proved so difficult for many Vietnamese in the UAE.
Bank cards are required when it comes to buying electronic tickets but the majority of Vietnamese here are laborers and they do not have such plastic. These people have had to resort to asking others to buy tickets for them, in a challenging manner.
Another option is purchasing game tickets at stadiums and shopping malls. However, work has prevented many from this option. Technical issues have also exacerbated the situation.
Vu Van Tung, a tour guide in Dubai, said that he came to a shopping mall to buy a ticket on Saturday but the ticketing system was not working properly then.
Tickets for Vietnam’s games fetch AED25 (US$), AED50 ($), and AED70 ($) each.
These rates are affordable to many Vietnamese laborers, Pham Thi Thien Ly, owner of a beauty salon and the Thai Viet restaurant in Dubai, said.
“You won’t always have the chance to cheer on the Vietnamese team like this, especially after such impressive performances recently,” Ly said.
She was referring to Vietnam lifting the Southeast Asian football trophy in Hanoi last month, their fourth place at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, and the second place at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China.
Thinking the same way, many Vietnamese laborers in Dubai, about 150km from Abu Dhabi, have asked for days off or switched shifts so they will be able to watch Vietnam’s games at the stadiums.
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup will be the 17th edition of the tournament.
It runs from January 5 to February 1.