Vietnamese football clubs Hanoi T&T and Vissai Ninh Binh have both taken three consecutive wins at Asia’s second tier Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
Their results show that the regional stage of the AFC Cup is no longer out of reach for Vietnam’s strongest teams.
Vietnamese clubs are still unable to make their way to Asia’s top-tier AFC Champions League, where the continent’s top clubs compete for the continental title. But the AFC Cup is the forum for weaker clubs in the region and Vietnamese teams have been doing well against squads from India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Hong Kong.
Even some clubs from Kuwait, Jordan or Oman are not too strong for Vietnamese clubs. In 2009, the then-V-League champs Becamex Binh Duong became the first Vietnamese club to make their way to AFC Cup semifinals. The next year, SHB Da Nang booked a quarterfinals berth after beating Binh Duong.
Statistics now indicate that Hanoi T&T and Vissai Ninh Binh are likely to make it to the quarterfinals or semifinals of the AFC Cup 2014.
The V-League organizing committee should be given credit for looking out for Hanoi T&T and Vissai Ninh Binh by making sure the two clubs were not too busy with the local and regional contests to be in top shape and form for the AFC rounds.