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Companies All Over Vietnam Let Workers off Early to Cheer on National Football Team

From small startups to big corporations like VietJet, local companies are – for the first time – going all out to support Vietnam’s national U-23 team in the upcoming football match.

By now, you probably know that last weekend, the U-23 team made history with an unprecedented win against Iraq to qualify for the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). This is the first time a Southeast Asian nation has made it this far in the history of the AFC. After the match, football fanatics took to the street to celebrate the win, waving the Vietnam flag and chanting “Vietnam vô địch,” meaning unbeatable Vietnam.

The huge party that Saigoneers held last Saturday to celebrate the win.

Now, in the next round of the tournament, the country will face Qatar, one of this year’s heavy favorites to win it all. The match will take place in the Chinese city of Changzhou at 3pm (Vietnam time) today.

Immersed in the excitement, companies nationwide were quick to cater to their employees’ football-watching needs, judging by a few internal documents that were leaked online earlier this week.

Vietnam’s cybersphere was buzzing with amusement after a memo from Hanoi-based Khanh An Co. was posted on Facebook. The memo states that workers can call it a day starting from 1pm today to “prepare for the match.” The 10-member firm also added that if Vietnam beats Qatar to move onto the final, employees will also be given Wednesday off to “recuperate from celebrating.”

Khanh An CEO Nguyen Thanh Chung confirmed with Tuoi Tre that the document is real, adding that “allowing employees to finish work early leaves no significant impact on a small-scale company like us.”

Another medium-sized firm, C. Moc Group, will also follow a similar schedule today. Company Director Pham Thanh Truyen told the news source that all 50 company employees will leave work early and make a beeline for a sport café nearby to watch the match.

“We will hold a party following the game if Vietnam wins,” Truyen added. “Employees are encouraged not to drive home on their own and the company will cover all taxi costs [following the bash].”

Bigger corporations in Vietnam, like local carriers VietJet and Vietnam Airlines, have also taken part in the national fun.

VietJet Managing Director Luu Duc Khanh is also a huge football fan. He wrote on his personal Facebook account recently: “I will paint coach Park [Hang Seo] and the whole U23 team on [VietJet] aircraft if [they] win the whole championship.”

Tuoi Tre reports that after the win last weekend, the budget airline has already granted the team one year of flying for free. Vietnam Airlines, on the other hand, is focusing on helping as many local fans as possible get to China to cheer on the national team.

The news source shares that VNA has increased the number of flights to Shanghai while implementing shuttle buses straight from the airport to Changzhou, where the match is occurring later today.

The first semifinal between Vietnam and Qatar will start at 3pm (Vietnam time) today. National television channel VTV and cable channel Fox Sports Asia will broadcast the match live.

[Top photo via Bao Giao Thong]

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