Vietnam has emerged as a potential candidate to hold the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup 2020 due to the country being considered a safe location in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In the scenario where a country must be selected to host the regional event, the AFF are likely choose an Asian nation that has had success in combatting the COVID-19, with Vietnam surely leading any potential list, Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation, stated.
This comes after Vietnamese football announced its successful return with a tie featuring Nam Dinh FC running out 2-0 winners over HAGL FC at the Thien Truong stadium on May 23 in the opening match of the National Cup.
The fixture saw approximately 10,000 tickets sold, making up half of the stadium’s overall capacity, with the match marking the first game to allow supporters to enter the ground following the end of the ban on mass events which was put in place as part of efforts to tackle the COVID-19.
This led to Vietnam becoming the first ASEAN country to resume its domestic footballing schedule after the hiatus enforced by the COVID-19, indicated an optimistic sign that the country could possibly host the event in the future.
In its most recent announcement, the ASEAN Football Federation outlined the schedule for the upcoming AFF Cup 2020, with the tournament set to get underway from November 25 to December 31 immediately after the conclusion of World Cup 2022 qualifiers in the Asian region.
Following the spread of the COVID-19 globally, the AFF had originally planned to postpone the tournament until 2021 in order to give time for the global pandemic to subside.
However, the federation are now considering a return to the old format by choosing one or two countries capable of hosting the qualifying stages, then having the semi-finals played over two legs home and away.
At present, the Vietnamese national team, the current AFF Cup champions, are scheduled to have two gatherings from August 30 to September 6, and again between September 30 and October 14.
The national team will face Malaysia, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates in October and November as part of the qualifiers for the World Cup 2022, with each of the games also serving as preparation for the AFF Cup 2020. VOV