Nam Định, a title contender emerges

The recent 3-1 victory over Hải Phòng showcased Nam Định’s incredible strength at this stage of the season.

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Nam Định continue to maintain the top position in V.League 1 2023-24 after nine matches. — Photo


HÀ NỘI Nam Định continue to make a strong impression in the 2023-24 V.League 1 season, as they crushed Hải Phòng FC in a dominant display at the Lạch Tray Stadium. With two-thirds of the league still to be played, it may be time for Nam Định to dare to dream of clinching the championship.

One of the key factors behind Nam Định’s success is the presence of Rafaelson Bezerra Fernandes. The Brazilian striker has already netted 11 goals in just eight matches, becoming a potent scoring threat for the team. Fernandes’s contributions have also allowed other Nam Định players to flourish and showcase their abilities.

Meanwhile, Hendrio da Silva has proven himself to be the standout foreign player in the league. With his exceptional skills and top-notch performances, the midfielder not only scores goals and provides assists, but also plays a pivotal role in shaping the club’s playing style.

The recent 3-1 victory over Hải Phòng showcased Nam Định’s incredible strength at this stage of the season. This triumph holds particular significance as it marks the first time since 2009 that Nam Định have emerged victorious at Lạch Tray, a venue where they had suffered consecutive defeats in five recent years.

Moreover, Hải Phòng had previously defeated their arch-rivals Hà Nội Police at the same stadium just two months ago and had also triumphed against three formidable opponents in the AFC Cup when playing at home.

This victory not only secured three crucial points for Nam Định but also highlighted their potential and ambition. Coach Vũ Hồng Việt’s tactics have proven to be more intriguing and unpredictable than initially anticipated.

With Bình Dương’s recent loss, Nam Định now have an opportunity to widen the gap between themselves and the chasing pack after the conclusion of the ninth match of the league.

Currently, Nam Định boast a seven-point lead over Hà Nội Police and a 12-point lead over Hà Nội FC. These statistics provide Nam Định with the rightful confidence to harbour dreams of clinching the championship, especially considering that the season is only one-third complete.


Nam Định’s impressive start to the season has played a pivotal role in motivating the club’s leadership to make further strong investments.

Ahead of the second phase of the 2023/24 league, Nam Định successfully recruited midfielder Lucas Alves from Dinamo Bucharest, a club competing in the Romanian national championship. According to Transfermarkt, the club had to invest approximately US$70,000 to secure this deal.

Alves currently serves as the captain of Dinamo Bucharest. It is no small feat for a V.League 1 club to acquire key players from European teams, yet Nam Định have managed to accomplish this impressive feat.

Having bolstered their attacking line with the likes of Nguyễn Văn Toàn and Fernandes, Nam Định recognised the need for greater defensive stability to compete for the championship.

Alves emerged as the perfect choice. Standing at 1.93m tall and possessing a wealth of playing experience spanning from Brazil to Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Portugal, and Romania, the 31-year-old midfielder brings both physicality and expertise to the team.

Bouncing back

The previous season witnessed several notable events. Apart from Hà Nội FC’s striker Nguyễn Văn Quyết receiving an eight-match suspension for his misconduct towards the referee, the disbandment of the Nam Định Fans’ Association due to doubts about the team’s spirit was the most widely discussed “event.”

This controversy stemmed from Nam Định’s 1-2 loss to Hà Nội Police during the second phase of the league. Although Nam Định did not have many chances to contend for the championship, they were expected to pose a challenge to strong contenders like Hà Nội Police.

However, Nam Định’s defeat wouldn’t have caused such a scandal had they not fielded a squad comprising mostly reserve players, ultimately losing 1-2 due to Ngô Đức Huy’s foolish mistake. Convinced that the home team intentionally allowed Hà Nội Police to win, the Nam Định Fans’ Association protested directly on the field and subsequently announced its dissolution.

That period was perhaps the most forgettable for Nam Định since their return to the V.League 1 in 2018. Nam Định fans are renowned for their passion and loyalty, faithfully supporting their team even during the years when Nam Định had to compete in the national second division from 2012 to 2014.

It was during this time that the Nam Định Fans’ Association was established. After years of unwavering support, the fans felt betrayed and decided to part ways.

However, Nam Định managed to salvage the 2023 season by finishing in fifth place, their highest position since returning to the V.League 1 in 2018.

This victory served as a foundation for the club’s leadership to make significant investments and bring in renowned players, mending the strained relationship with the hometown fans.

Now, Nam Định fans can revel in the beautiful football style that their club exhibits, accompanied by the joy of victory. — 

Theo Vietnamnews