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Feyenoord and Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC have taken the first step towards a talent and coaching development partnership. The two sides signed a letter of intent in Ho Chi Minh City last week as part of the Dutch trade mission to Vietnam headed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte and minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. The aim is for Feyenoord to share its knowhow and methodology with the Vietnamese club. Vietnamese teams, players and coaches will also travel to the Netherlands to gain experience.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC is a club in Vietnam’s elite V-League. Owner Doan Nguyen Duc opened the club’s academy 12 years ago with the aim of bringing through a new generation of Vietnamese footballers and eventually helping the country qualify for the World Cup. The HAGL academy has produced a large number of Vietnamese internationals and the national team ended decades of mediocrity by winning the Southeast Asian championship, known as the Suzuki Cup, in 2018, a feat that was enthusiastically celebrated in Vietnam.
HAGL FC and Feyenoord were first brought together by Vietnam-based company WeSport and former professional footballer Danny van Bakel just under six months ago. That resulted in Feyenoord’s International Relations Manager Gido Vader visiting HAGL FC’s home city Pleiku in early April. ‘It was a very pleasant acquaintance,’ says Vader. ‘The facility is purely oriented to football and Mr Duc has made it his personal mission to get Vietnam to the World Cup.’
‘A partnership in Vietnam fits with our international philosophy, where we are increasingly focusing on specific areas,’ Vader continues. ‘It can certainly be no bad thing to get more exposure in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is a football-mad country with a population of almost 100 million. There is an absolute will to get ahead in the world. Business and government here have got behind initiatives to push football. They are now getting to know Feyenoord. By way of example: within a few days our first Facebook message in Vietnamese got more than 25,000 likes, was shared by famous Vietnamese and yielded thousands of new followers. In addition, we always secure a financial return when marketing our knowhow and methodology, while we can contribute to the advancement of football. The partnership between Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC and Feyenoord will be fleshed out over the coming time.’