The Local Game: When love turns to hate

The final hours of the Philippe Troussier era were not the finest, but rather, one of the darkest times ever in the last decade of Vietnamese football.

Anh Đức

04202401224305 duc 1 | FDI Việt Nam
FAN POWER: Angry fans display anti-Troussier banners after Indonesia’s second goal and chanted “Troussier out” at the end of the match. – VNA/

Theo Vietnamnews

Photo Minh Quyết

I was there when it happened.

The final hours of the Philippe Troussier era were not the finest, but rather, one of the darkest times ever in the last decade of Vietnamese football.

As reporters, we have the privilege of covering the game from a place in a stand where everything is revealed. But I will not retell you what happened on the field; you probably have already seen the game, or read the post-match report here on Việt Nam News.

This is the match from the stands and fans’ perspectives.

On matchday, social media was full of comments wishing for the team to lose, in order for Troussier to be sacked. Mass media, on the other hand, called for unity from fans to cheer on the team at home in Mỹ Đình.

Despite earlier reports of ticket sales going quiet, there were still 30,000 fans at Mỹ Đình, a number rarely seen in even home matches of the Park Hang-seo era.

Children were excited, and fans clapped as Filip Nguyễn and teammates warmed up for the match. The national anthem was sung loudly and proudly across the stands.

Mỹ Đình went silent for a bit after Jay Idzes opened the score for Indonesia, but there were still cheers of “Việt Nam! Việt Nam!” in the stands, hoping for a comeback from a one-goal deficit.

But when Ragnar Oratmangoen doubled the score for Indonesia, there were no more cheers, and only the Indonesian section were singing and dancing. Profanities were even heard after Tiến Linh blew a golden scoring opportunity.

In the second half, the fans’ disappointment increased with every fumbled shot and failed substitution. A slight cheer was heard when Nguyễn Quang Hải was supposed to be subbed on, but died down when the playmaker sat down again on the bench.

About 80 minutes in, there was no hope for a crazy comeback, and fans started to leave the stadium en masse. The fans who stayed on, wished for a third goal, and they got what they wanted. Cheers erupted for Ramadhan Sananta’s goal, even from the Vietnamese supporters, as if Sananta had scored at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

The final whistle went and the whole stadium chanted “Troussier Out” in unison. Back at home, a video clip with a man angrily beating his own TV went viral. Both of these things never happened in Việt Nam.

What happened here in the stands, is love turned to hate. The Việt Nam national team, the nation’s pride, was so beloved by the fans that when things get bad, it turns to pure anger directed at one person.

The VFF listened to the fans by sacking Troussier on the night, but on the other hand, the players, should this performance go on, would not deserve this kind of love from the fans.

A new era of Vietnamese football is approaching, and the players, both young and experienced, need to regain the fans’ trust and love.

Theo Vietnamnews