Japanese football infiltrates Vietnam market

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam is one of the markets with the most potential in Southeast Asia and the J.League clubs want to look for the brightest talents.


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Gamba Osaka, which was the AFC Champions League champion, signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement for two years with the Promotion Fund for Vietnamese Football Talents (PVF) to train young players and take young football talents of Vietnam to Japan to play.

Why do the J.League clubs want to accelerate their penetration into the Vietnamese market? This is not a question in football alone.

Japan considers Vietnam a potential market, which is now in a demographic bonus period when the number of people of working age (15 to 64) account for a majority in the population of more than 90 million people. With the rise of the middle-income group, the consumer market of Vietnam also promises to be an ideal place for the J.League.

Cooperation

Kawasaki Frontale FC is a pioneer. Through its parent company, which works in the field of real estate, this team cooperated with B.Binh Duong FC of Vietnam to hold a friendly match in the summer of 2013. The two sides also implemented a series of cooperation programs on training young football talents. The Japanese FC also opened a Facebook page in Vietnamese.

Another Japanese FC - Consodale Sapporo – began working with Dong Tam Long An FC (now Long An FC) in 2013. Vietnam’s top striker Le Cong Vinh played for Consodale Sapporo for seven months. The two teams are still cooperating in training young players.

Cerezo Osaka FC, organized the "Cerezo Osaka Fan Festival" in September 2015 to promote exchanges between the FC and Vietnamese fans and sent its team to Vietnam to play in a friendly game with the U23 Vietnam squad. Erlier, this FC opened an office in Ho Chi Minh City. On its Facebook page, the club has the Vietnamese version besides other languages such as English, Thai and Indonesian.

Gamba Osaka, which was the AFC Champions League champion, signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement for two years with the Promotion Fund for Vietnamese Football Talents (PVF) to train young players and take young football talents of Vietnam to Japan to play.

Japanese coach Daisuke Michinaka will go to HCM City to select and train players. PVF is one of the best football training centers in Vietnam in recent years so the newly-signed agreement is believed to help discover new football talents for the Vietnam national football team in the future.

The cooperation between the two countries’ football was also proven through the Japan Football Association’s (JFA) recommendation of two Japanese coaches - Toshiya Miura and Takashi - to lead the national men’s and women’s teams;

Toyota becomes the main sponsor of the V.League; the exploitation of commercial rights of the Vietnam national team is held by a Japanese firm; the Vietnam Professional Football JSC (which runs the V-League) studies the J.League model…

Two Japanese FCs - Mito Hollyhock and Yokohama – which are playing at the J.League 2 have borrowed two young football talents of Vietnam - Cong Phuong and Tuan Anh – from the HAGL FC for one year. The numbers of Vietnamese fans of these FCs has rocketed.

The J.League commented on its Facebook page: "Vietnamese striker Nguyen Cong Phuong’s join in Mito Hollyhock can be the start towards a new model for the J.League when Japanese FCs expand to Southeast Asia. Mito Hollyhock hopes that Cong Phuong will help boost the team's revenue, which is currently at 500 million yen ($ 4.2 million) - the lowest of the teams in the J.League 2".

Competition

Another reason that urges J.League FCs to promote their investment in Vietnam is to compete with the K.League of South Korea in the exploitation of market share.

In late October 2015, the Vietnam Cable Television (VTVCab) announced the K.League broadcasting rights from 2015 to 2017. The games of 12 K.League FCs will be broadcast live at noon of the weekend on Sports TV and Football TV channels.

This event shows the great determination of the Korean FCs in influencing Vietnamese fans. Attention was pushed when Incheon United FC announced the contracts to hire Luong Xuan Truong for two years, with the pay of $300,000, much higher than the salary paid by Japanese FCs to Tuan Anh and Cong Phuong. In particular, Truong has a great opportunity to play at the top tournament in Korea, not the second league like Tuan Anh and Cong Phuong at the J.League 2.

J.League has many advantages over K.League in Vietnam, but the Japanese were not subjective. In late January when Yokohama FC had a friendly game in Gia Lai, Vietnam, Mr. Kei Koyama – an official of the International Relations Division of the J.League watched the game and learned about Vietnamese fans.

He hoped that in the future of the J.League matches will be broadcast widely in Vietnam. The Japanese government has turned the "green light"on this by giving funds, he added.

Nam Nguyen

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