VietNamNet Bridge – Foreign footballers remain a major factor in every local club's success and failure while local players struggle to make an impact.
HTML clipboard Goal drought: Nguyen Van Hau (right) of Dong Thap vies for the ball with Xuan Thanh of Ha Noi ACB in their V-League match in Ha Noi. Foreign strikers have dominated the football championship since 2003. (Photo: VNS)
After this season began, when clubs shifted to operating as businesses, the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) decided to reduce the number of foreign players to four players instead of five.
But the situation remains the same, if not worse, as foreign-based footballers continue to play pivotal roles in every competition while Vietnamese footballers, with more presence on the field, have made little significant impact.
After six rounds, V-League's top scorers are Nigerian Samson Kayode of Dong Thap, Argentine Gaston Merlo of SHB Da Nang, Nigerian Timothy Anjembe of Hoa Phat Ha Noi and other foreign players.
According to statistics from VFF, the number of goals scored by foreign footballers are about two-thirds, with one-third of goals from a total of six foreign players.
Some experts said the use of foreigners was done to boost the quality of V-League, explaining that foreign players have a distinct advantage in height and skills, and they ensure better results for clubs.
"Most clubs are using foreign players in important positions because of better quality and physical strength, so local players have fewer opportunities to score goals," said Phan Thanh Hung, head coach of Ha Noi T&T.
By contrast, with eight players on the field in each match, local players contribute to only one-third of the goal total. The only local striker who scored four goals is Hoang Dinh Tung, a young player of Thanh Hoa.
Contrary to expectations, all strikers of the national team were performing poorly.
The national team and Ninh Binh striker Nguyen Viet Thang, who left Dong Tam Long An with an estimated US$400,000 transfer fee, has not yet scored a single goal for his club this season. He also scored only seven goals last season.
Another national striker, Nguyen Quang Hai, who moved from Khanh Hoa to Navibank Sai Gon, scored his first goal on Sunday. Hai was the most prolific local striker last season, with 13 goals.
One of the most promising strikers, Le Cong Vinh, who returned to the game after a 10-month hiatus because of injury, has not regained his form.
Hung said that Cong Vinh did not play well because he was still in recovery.
In addition, Song Lam Nghe An's Nguyen Trong Hoang and Nguyen Anh Duc of Binh Duong have also not met expectations this season.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News