As with many developing leagues in the region, the V League implements a cap on the number of foreign players each team is allowed, and therefore pre-season is often dominated by the news of ‘foreign transfers’. The V League allows 2 foreign players and one naturalized player in each match-day squad.
The trend is normally to have these ‘higher quality’ players through the spine of the team. The general consensus is that if everyone has a powerful towering 6.3ft striker, you need similar in defence to counter such threat.
Here’s a look at a few of the foreign players who will be gracing the VLeague this season.
Becamex Bình Dương
The 2015 League and Cup champions wasted no time in securing the services of dutch attacking midfielder Wiljan Pluim from Willem II, who will look to from a formidable partnership with Ugandan Moses Oloya, arguably the best midfielder in the league. This seasons only remaining Vietnamese AFC Champions League representatives also strengthened in attacked, signing Nsi Amougou from relegated Dong Nai. The towering Cameroonian striker bagged 14 goals from 26 appearances last season. With an eye on the differing rules for the ACL, where each team is allowed an additional overseas foreigner from an Asian country, the club signed South Korean attacker Han Seung-yeop from National League side Daejeon Korail FC.
Hà Nội T&T and Hà Nội FC
The two teams from the capital have strengthened their attacks by each signing an ex-Paris St Germain player. Jean-Eudes Maurice has joined the newly promoted Ha Noi FC, while Loris Arnaud links up with T&T. The ex-PSG pair have 53 appearances between them, while Maurice also has a decent record for Haiti with 12 goals from 23 appearances.
Ha Noi FC’s second overseas signing is Andy Mwesigwa. Central defender Mwesigwa is a Ugandan international with 68 caps. He’s something of a journeyman, having spent his career in Iceland, China, Kazakhstan and now Vietnam.
Ha Noi T&T have retained the the Argentine duo of Victor Ormazabol and captain Gonzalo Marronkle. Hoang Vu Samson, regarding by many as the leagues best striker, is the clubs naturalized player.
SHB Đà Nẵng
SHB Da Nang left if late to confirm their overseas players ahead of the 2016 season but will have delighted their fans by resigning cliub legend Gaston ‘The Beast’ Merlo. The Argentinian striker, who was ruled out for over a season through injury, scored 83 goals in 109 matches for SHB Da Nang. He won the V.League top scorer award three times in a row from 2009 to 2011.
SHB Da Nang had signed Diabate from Long An F.C after V.League 2015 had ended but had to release the striker after it was discovered hew has a heart condition. He will be replaced by Jamaican striker Horace James, who impressed coach Le Huynh Duc during the pre-season Gia Lai Cup with 4 goals in 5 matches.
FLC Thanh Hóa’s Dutch central defender Danny Van Bakel was granted Vietnamese citizenship in January 2016 and adopted the name, Nguyễn van Bakel. This paved the way for the club to sign two new strikers; Pape Omar Faye (Senegal) and Ivan Firer (Slovenia).
VLeague 1 Club-by-club foreign players
¤ Becamex BÌNH DƯƠNG: Nguyễn Quốc Thiện Esele, Moses Oloya, Nsi Amougou, Han Seung-yeop
¤ ĐỒNG THÁP: Nguyễn Trung Sơn, Samson Kpenosen, Udo Fortune
¤ FLC THANH HOÁ: Nguyễn Hữu Long (Van Bakel), Pape Omar, Ivan Firer
¤ HÀ NỘI FC: Andy Mwesigwa, Jean-Eudes Maurice
¤ HÀ NỘI T&T: Hoàng Vũ Samson, Gonzalo, Victor, Loris Arnaud
¤ HẢI PHÒNG: Lê Văn Phú, Stevens, Fagan
¤ HOANG ANH GIA LAI: Moreira Osmar, Masaaki Ideguchi
¤ LONG AN: Lê Văn Tân, Paul Emile, Franklin Anzite
¤ QNK QUẢNG NAM: Hoàng Vissai, Suleiman, Felix Ogbuke
¤ SANNA KHÁNH HOÀ: Uche, Zarour
¤ SHB ĐÀ NẴNG: Đinh Văn Ta, Gaston Merlo, Horace James
¤ SONG LAM NGHỆ AN: Odah, Affoloh Salia
¤ THAN QUẢNG NINH: Bisan, Rod Dyachenko
¤ XSKT CẦN THƠ: Đinh Hoàng Max, Oseni, Patiyo