News came throught today that FC Gifu’s last home game of the season, their penultimate game overall, will be broadcast live in Vietnam. As opposed to Gifu being an international draw, the reason is that Gifu’s opponents on that day, Consadole Sapporo, count Vietnamese superstar Le Cong Vinh amongst their number. As my man @GifuRichy points out on Twitter, those lucky, lucky Vietnamese punters will get to witness two of the worst sides in J2 on their TVs, as the following week Consadole v Giravanz Kitakyushu will be beamed direct into their homes.
Still, it is possibly a sign of things to come as next year the J.League hopes to increase the exposure of the league in south east Asia. The league is rumoured to be giving clubs space in their squad for players from SE Asia, a space that wouldn’t count as being used up by a “regular” foreigner.
It would be great if the league widened its profile through out the emerging SE Asian countries, and you have to think that there is a lot of untapped potential there. Those countries are football-mad and, as has been witnessed with Le Cong Vinh, the countries will get behind players of theirs. This week Shimizu S-Pulse are taking a long hard look at Thai youngster Chanathip Songkrasin while Ventforet Kofu took Indonesian star Andik Vermansyahon on trial. And without wishing to sound crude, there are riches available for teams that can crack the market.
Don’t be surprised to see more moves like these in the near future.