With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ravaging nations around the world, the AFC has decided to play out the group stages of their continental club competitions in centralized venues for the sake of the participants’ safety. In order to decide the hosts for the competitions’ group stages, the AFC are waiting for bids from prospective countries who are willing to hold the competitions’ matches safely. Sai Gon FC of Vietnam, who are making their continental debut in the 2021 AFC Cup group stages, have nominated themselves as a host for the ASEAN Zone group stage matches.
“We have spoken with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF)’s department of international relations about our intentions of applying as the host for Group H of this year’s AFC Cup,” said Sai Gon club president Tran Hoa Binh on Tuesday, as quoted from VNExpress, “We hope that our fans and the people of Ho Chi Minh City in general could enjoy AFC Cup matches at the Thong Nhat Stadium.”
Three out of the four teams for Group H of this year’s AFC Cup has been confirmed – Sai Gon, Lion City Sailors of Singapore, and Kedah Darul Aman of Malaysia. The final spot will be decided between Visakha FC of Cambodia, Lalenok United of Timor-Leste, and Persipura Jayapura of Indonesia.
Despite the recent spikes of COVID-19 cases in Northern Vietnam that forces the ongoing 2021 V.League 1 season to be suspended, Vietnam in general has been handling the pandemic quite well and are lauded as one of the nations who have successfully managed to keep COVID-19 cases under control. There has been no new COVID-19 cases around Southern Vietnam where Sai Gon are based at as of late, so last year’s V.League 1 bronze medalists are confident that the Thong Nhat Stadium are able to host AFC Cup games for the 2021 campaign.