Australian footballers foster young Vietnamese talent
The Australian Mens Under 23 Football Team, nicknamed the Olyroos, held a training clinic for children from SOS Children's Village Mai Dich (Hanoi) at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi on 21 September.
At the clinic, 20 children from the SOS Children’s Village learnt advanced ball handling skills together with Olyroos coach and former Australian captain, Aurelio Vidmar. The children also had the chance to practice their newly-learn skills with Olyroos players, all of who play for Australian league (A-League) teams.
The 20 member Olyroos squad is in Hanoi for the Thang Long Cup, celebrating Hanoi’s 1000th anniversary. The Olyroos will play the Vietnam National Team on Wednesday 22 September before taking on the Kuwait U23 team on Friday 24 September. The Olyroos represent Australia at the Olympic Games.
Australian Ambassador HE Mr Allaster Cox said, “We’re proud that the Olyroos dedicated time in their busy schedule to working with disadvantaged Hanoi children. I think it is testament to the team’s commitment to fostering youth talent and represents the best Australian tradition of giving back to the community.”
Mr Nguyen Tien Dung, Director of the SOS Children's Village Mai Dich said, “This is a very meaningful and rewarding activity for these children, who only recently won first place in a national competition between SOS children villages throughout Vietnam. We’re pleased our children had the chance to learn with Australian players in a fun and relaxing atmosphere”.
SOS Children's Village Mai Dich, established in 1989, provides SOS care to 104 girls and 96 boys, and supports primate and secondary schooling for a further 700 students.
Football is increasingly prominent in Australia, with over 1 million Australians playing football in one form or another. Australia made its second consecutive appearance at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Many former Olyroos and current member of the Australian national team, the Socceroos, play in the major football leagues of the world (eg. Lucas Neil and Harry Kewell – Turkish Super Lig; Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer – English Premier League; Scott Chipperfield – Swiss Super League). Australia is currently bidding to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which would witness a welcome return of the World Cup to the Oceanic and Asia regions.