The Thanh Nien-sponsored Under-21 International Football Tournament has proven to be an exciting and significant competition for regional teams including hosts Vietnam.
Addressing a press conference in Pleiku on Saturday, Nguyen Cong Khe, chief of the organizing committee of the event and chairman of the Thanh Nien Media Corporation, said, "Thanh Nien newspaper and Thanh Nien Media Corporation are well aware of our responsibility in promoting the development of Vietnamese football.
"That is why we have been organizing the U21 national football event over the past 15 years and this international contest has entered its fifth consecutive year with the constant participation of strong teams in the Southeast Asian region."
With more teams beyond the region interested in the contest, the event this year will see very strong young players from Iran and Qatar's football academy Aspire compete, proving that the tournament has been expanding further and further and has reached new heights, Khe said.
Khe said the tournament was a very significant opportunity for young players of Vietnam as well as Southeast Asian teams like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to compete and gain more experience.
"I would like to thank Truong Hai Auto Company as the main sponsor for supporting the organizers in our efforts to constantly improve Vietnamese football, aiming at a "Green-Clean-Beautiful" U21 football tournament," Khe said.
Iran's coach, Mohammadi Agri, said, "I think all the teams here will do their best to win the championship. Most of my players are only 18, so they're not very experienced yet. We will play our first game against Singapore and we hope we will win to get into high spirits and prepare for the next games."
Vietnamese team manager Nguyen Ngoc Hao said, "This is a very significant chance for young Vietnamese players. As the hosts, we will certainly aim to advance to the final".
Thai team manager Apinan Horsangchai said, "Our goal is to win the championship. Everyone knows that Thailand is a regular visitor to this tournament. Therefore, we have always brought our best players to this tournament and aimed at the title".
Singaporean team manager Foo Tze Chaing said, "We are pleased to be invited to this competition. This event is very significant for our young players".
Malaysian team manager Mohd Noor Mohd Junid said "This is an ideal opportunity for young players in Southeast Asia to compete and improve themselves. This is a very exciting tournament and there have been strong teams at the event every year. That contributes to improving not only Vietnamese football but also regional football."