VLeague 2016 season preview
The VLeague 1 contains 14 professional teams, who play each other twice in a season that runs from February 20th – 18th September. Each team is allowed 2 foreign players plus one naturalized player in their match day squad.
The champions enter the Asian Champions League Group Stage, while the runners-up secure a place in the ACL 2nd qualifying round. One team will be relegated to the VLeague 2.
What happened last season?
Binh Duong won the league by six points from runners-up HaNoi T&T. The team from just outside of HCM City also won the League Cup, defeating Ha Noi T&T 4-2 in the final. Dong Nai, struggling financially, were relegated and will be replaced by VLeague 2 champions Ha Noi FC.
VLeague 2015 Final Table
The biggest domestic shock of pre-season saw T&T coach Phan Thanh Hùng leave his position with the club just 7 days before the first match. The official statement cited ‘health reasons’ and the experienced ex-national team coach has been replaced by T&T U21 coach Phạm Minh Đức.
On the pitch, Dutch number 10, Wiljan Pluim, from Willem II in the Eredivisie last season, has moved to Binh Duong from Willem II, fter made over 150 appearances in the Eredivisie, and will also be joined by Nsi Amougou, who netted 14 goals last season for Dong Nai.
Former PSG pair, Loris Arnauad and Jean Morace, have moved to the capital, joining Ha Noi T&T and Ha Noi FC respectively.
George Bisan, prolific in the Cambodian League for Phnon Pehn crown, has moved to Quang Ninh, who have also signed fomer MLS player, Rod Dyachenko.
A more in-depth round-up of this seasons overseas players gracing the VLeague can be found here.
Pre-season also saw three of the VLeague’s brightest stars from HAGL move overseas. Cong Phuong and Nguyen Tuan Anh left for Japan, signing loan deals with Mito Hollihock & Yokohama FC respectively. Luong Xuan Truong wil become the first Vietnamese player to play in the KLeague having joined Incheon United in a 2 year loan deal worth an estimated $300,000.
Predictions (totally biased)
VLeagaue 1 Champions: Ha Noi T&T
Runners-up: Binh Duong
3rd Place: Quang Ninh
Relegation: Can Tho
VLeague 2 Champions: Hue FC
For a weekly round-up and general Vietnamese football chat check out our new podcast, The Hanoi Football Show!
All matches from the first weekend will be streamed live at the VPF Youtube channel