Domestic football clubs stay in shape during Covid-19 sidelining

By Lam Dong   April 6, 2020 | 10:00 pm PT
Domestic football clubs stay in shape during Covid-19 sidelining
Players of Song Lam Nghe An still stay at the club for training and maintaining their form. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
The new coronavirus has forced sports clubs to adapt training schedules, and V. League 1 clubs are employing novel means to survive the fallout.

With the country’s top division postponed until mid-April or possibly even further, alongside the nationwide social distancing order by PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc from April 1 to 15, many clubs have allowed players to return home during a pandemic lull.

Hanoi FC initially planned to reassemble its players on April 5. But after the social distancing order, the capital club had to extend the break.

"Many have returned home, where the coaching board requested them to train to maintain stamina. Our players are all professionals. For instance, team captain Nguyen Van Quyet visited Hang Day Stadium for solo training last Wednesday," said Hanoi FC head coach Chu Dinh Nghiem.

Than Quang Ninh, who beat Hanoi FC 3-1 in the second round of V. League 1, will also return to training starting April 15.

"Our club is flexible and always ready to play. If other teams are okay with the schedule then we will follow," said Bui Xuan Hoa, president of SHB Da Nang when asked about upcoming V. League 1 fixtures to be played entirely in northern Vietnam.

HCMC FC, the current table topper, also sent players home following the V. League 1 second round that ended in March, with no sure date of return.

"We took a break, though each player is still required to train on their own. The same goes for me," said HCMC FC captain Tran Phi Son.

Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh only let half its team return home, all young players to remain at the club to train with the new physical coach it signed last month.

Nam Dinh has less financial resources compared to other clubs, its players having agreed to a 25 percent salary cut to ensure it survives the downtime.

"We will get through this challenge together. The players understand if the club goes bankrupt, they will be affected too," said Tran Thai Toan, club director.

All Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) players have in turn been asked to remain at the club’s complex in central Pleiku Province, with no one allowed to leave the premises.

"Our complex is far removed from the residential area and closed to outsiders. All players are in quarantine and training stopped," Head of HAGL Coaching Board Nguyen Tan Anh said.

Viettel FC has also kept its players in Hanoi and, though everyone remains in quarantine, training commences as usual.

Becamex Binh Duong has quarantined its team, with training slightly reduced.

"All players have to stay inside the complex and going out is not an option. We have night patrols to make sure no player can sneak out. We have many young players and they could take this quarantine thing lightly," Binh Duong General Director Le Hong Cuong said.

Hong Linh Ha Tinh copied Binh Duong. The newly-promoted club is currently bottoming the table with two losses in two rounds, thus players will take this long break to train together.

In comparison, Song Lam Nghe An still continues training at their complex in Nghe An, though players with families can return home in the evening.

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