Hanoi T&T has applied for Vietnamese citizenship for
Nigerian striker Samson Kyode (yellow).
With 15 foreign players, V-League ranks in Southeast Asia for the number of foreign footballers, after Singapore. Indonesia has only three, while Malaysia has no foreign player.
The success and failure of Vietnamese FCs have gradually depended on foreign players after FCs race to buy players from Africa or Brazil.
There was a time that African footballers flocked to Vietnam as travelers to seek jobs in this potential market. Owners of FCs also seek foreign players through agents.
After purchasing foreign players, FCs have sought ways to use as many as foreign players as they can. The best way is applying Vietnamese citizenship for them.
V-League was established in 2000-2001. Fabio dos Santos, a Brazilian goalkeeper of Dong Tam Long An FC since 2001, was the first foreign player in Vietnam. He became a Vietnamese citizen in 2007, with Vietnamese name Phan Van Santos. Santos is also the first foreign player who is naturalized in Vietnam.
Seeking Vietnamese citizenship for foreign players is the effective measure to dodge the restriction of foreign players at V-League. FCs are permitted to register four foreign footballers but only three of them can play in match at the same time.
Reviewing V-League in the last over 10 years, experts have to admit the decisive role of foreign players, based on the number of scores made by them.
After becoming a Vietnamese citizen, Phan Van Santos contributed greatly to the success for Dong Tam Long An. This example has encouraged other FC to follow Dong Tam Long An. After Santos, an additional 13 foreign players became Vietnamese citizens.
Naturalized players always say “I love V-Leage and I love Vietnam,” but most of them cannot speak Vietnamese fluently and not all of them voluntarily applied for Vietnamese citizenship.
Many of them did not satisfy conditions to have two nationalities, so FCs had to pay a lot of money to convene them to give up their original nationality to become Vietnamese citizens. Except for Phan Van Santos, most of other naturalized players received money from their FCs, ranging from several tens or hundreds of thousands USD.
Until the lawsuit between goalkeeper Dinh Hoang La, an Ukraina origin player and his FC - Ninh Binh broke out, it is disclosed that this player received $50,000 from the club to be naturalized in Vietnam.
In recent years, more foreign players want to become Vietnamese citizens because they can benefit a lot from the Vietnamese nationality, besides the pay from FCs.
Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Helio is an example. Before receiving the Vietnamese passport, Helio received only $30,000 of transfer fee and $5,000 of monthly wage from Song Lam Nghe An FC. With the name Nguyen Hoang Helio, this player joined Binh Duong FC with nearly $200,000 of transfer fee.
So far, Vietnam has 15 naturalized football players including Huynh Kesley Alves (Xuan Thanh Saigon), Nguyen Hoang Helio (Song Lam Nghe An), Nguyen Rogerio (SHB Da Nang), Nguyen Thanh Son (Quang Nam), Doan Van Sakda (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Doan Van Nirut (Navibank Saigon), Dinh Hoang Max, Dinh Hoang La, Hoang Vissai and Le Hoang Tran Xi (Ninh Binh), Tran Le Martin and Tran Le Issac (Hoa Phat Hanoi), Phan Van Santos (Navibank Saigon), Le Tostao (LS Thanh Hoa) and Lee Nguyen (Binh Duong).
Hanoi T&T has applied for Vietnamese citizenship for Nigerian striker Samson Kyode. PV