New Binh Duong signing David Vrankovic believes that their upcoming AFC Champions League campaign is a great opportunity for the club to shine.
The former Melbourne Heart player is at this stage only registered to participate in the ACL with the Vietnamese champions, and is looking forward to making his debut for his new side when they host China’s Shandong Luneng on Tuesday.
“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” the 21-year-old told Football Channel Asia. “It took me a while to get back into a professional environment but now that I’m here I can work on bettering my game.
“The players in my team, both local and foreign have made the transition easy for me.”
It has been seven years since Binh Duong were last in the ACL group stages, exiting without a win and just one point from a draw with South Korea’s Pohang Steelers.
While Hanoi T&T’s 7-0 thumping at the hands of FC Seoul in the final qualifying playoff last week suggests the V-League holders will struggle with the step up in competition, Vrankovic told Football Channel Asia the club is just excited to be back on the continental stage.
“[We’re] extremely excited, we’ve been dealt a very difficult group but the entire club is remaining positive,” the Australian said.
“The [ACL] is a great opportunity for clubs to shine. The (Western Sydney) Wanderers had an unbelievable campaign last year and now they’re recognised all around the world.
“It won’t be easy but we want to do well in our home matches in front of our home crowd. We’ll approach each game with the same mentality and do whatever it takes to get a good result.”
At the moment the level of Vietnamese football might not be able to match that of the other East Asian nations, and even that of fellow South East Asian rivals Thailand, but Vrankovic is convinced the V.League will only continue to get better.
“Just like the A-League, the V-League is also improving every year,” the Sydney-born defender said. “Clubs try to bring in good foreign players to improve quality, (but) unfortunately only two foreign players can participate in a single match, as opposed to the A-League’s five.”
Playing alongside Vrankovic are a trio of African players, including former Nigerian youth international Ganiyu Oseni.
One Vietnamese player who will be known to many across Asia is Le Cong Vinh, the experienced striker with over 60 caps and 39 goals for his country who had a brief spell with Japan’s Consadole Sapporo in 2013. According to Vrankovic, he is the one to watch, describing him as “the local superstar” and “a very tidy player.”
Binh Duong have been drawn in Group E alongside South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai, Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol and China’s Shandong Luneng, the latter of which they play at home on Tuesday night.