PANO – A press conference before a friendly match between Vietnam and Arsenal was held at the InterContinental Hotel in Hanoi on July 15th.
Present at the conference were Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Le Hung Dung, Chairman of Hoang Anh-Gia Lai Group Doan Nguyen Duc, Head Coach of Vietnam national men’s football squad Hoang Van Phuc, Chief Executive of Arsenal Ivan Gazidis, Head Coach Arsene Wenger and two Arsenal players, Oxlade Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal’s Head Coach Arsene Wenger said that when he was a child, he wished to visit the beautiful country of Vietnam. He hoped that this tour of the English Premier League football club to Vietnam would make a good impression on his players.
“In the past, I did not have a chance to arrive in Vietnam because of its poor development in football. However, at present, Vietnam’s football is developing quite fast, which helps my dream come true. I see Vietnam has many promising junior players. In the next 5 or 10 years, Vietnam may be able to compete in the international arena”, said Arsene Wenger.
“I met with Mr. Doan Nguyen Duc several years ago in London. He asked me how Vietnam could develop its football and I said that it should focus on cultivating young gifted players. After coming back to Vietnam, Duc established the HAGL – Arsenal Football Academy. The academy is on the right track”, added the Arsenal Coach.
When asked about the palm-leaf conical hat that the organization panel presented to him at the reception ceremony at Noi Bai International Airport, the coach said that he has not gotten used to wearing it, but it is a beautiful traditional symbol of Vietnamese people. On the way from the airport to the hotel, he saw many local people wear the hats, and young people playing football. The hat and lotuses have made deep impression on him.
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielders Oxlade Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta talked about their impression of Vietnamese football fans. “It came as a surprise that many Vietnamese fans showed up early in the morning at the airport to welcome us. I want to thank them for their warm welcome. We will play with all our hearts to present an attractive game to local fans”, said midfielder Oxlade Chamberlain.
For his part, Coach Hoang Van Phuc said that in spite of a short training course in preparation for the ‘historical’ friendly game, he selected the best players to take on Arsenal. “We will make every effort to play against the world class club. This match gives a good chance for Vietnamese players to hone their professionalism”, affirmed Phuc.
In addition, striker Le Cong Vinh noted that they have nothing to fear from the guests. It is a great honour to take on them. He hoped Vietnamese players will play a fair match.
After the press conference, Head Coach Arsene Wenger and his players toured Hoan Kiem Lake and Chua Mot Cot (One Pillar Pagoda).
Translated Van Hieu