|Ho Chi Minh City FC’s footballer Tran Phi Son
Upon discussing his club’s target in this season’s V.League 1, key player Tran Phi Son said, “Our aim is to fight our hardest in every match in order to achieve our goals, we had a very successful season in 2019, but we want to be even higher in 2020.”
He went on to confirm the bond that exists among the teams players and staff, “I’m very happy with how we’ve started the season and we will give everything we have to become champions. We have grown together and improved over time because we live and play as a team, as a family.”
The interview comes after the 2019 campaign ended in disappointment after suffering defeat in the penultimate game, ultimately ending Ho Chi Minh City’s quest for a first league title since 2002, with Hanoi FC coming top in what had been a closely fought two-horse race.
Despite this setback, the southeastern Vietnamese side signaled their intentions ahead of the current campaign by acquiring highly rated Vietnamese internationals such as Nguyen Cong Phuong, along with foreign talent such as former Celtic striker Amido Balde, according to the Asian Football Confederation.
Both have already shown their quality in their side’s maiden AFC Cup appearance, with Balde netting three goals in three games, whilst Cong Phuong has appeared on the scoresheet twice as Jung Hae-seong’s team have picked up two wins and a draw to start their continental campaign.
“Amido is a very good striker and is very good in the air, while he’s also physically very strong,” noted 28-year-old Phi Son, who assisted all three of his side's goals back in a 3-2 win over Singapore's Hougang United in February.
“Cong Phuong is very skillful and has the ability to make the difference in any match, so I think both can make big contributions to the team’s success. But together we are a side built by strong bonds and we view every game as a chance to boost morale and achieve our goals.”
Phi Son added, “There is a difference in the style of play when we come up against teams from different countries, so we need to adapt, but we’re confident and it’s an honour to represent Ho Chi Minh City in the competition."
V.League 1 clubs have shone whilst competing in the AFC Cup in recent years, with local sides Hanoi FC and Becamex Binh Duong contesting the ASEAN Zonal final last year, the AFC article states.
Hanoi FC went on to reach the Inter-Zone final before narrowly missing out on a place in the overall final following an away goals defeat to 4.25 SC of the DPR Korea, with Phi Son hopeful that his side can enjoy a similar level of success.
“Hanoi are Binh Duong were both very good last year and extremely hard to beat; now it’s up to us to show what we can do in the AFC Cup and prove how strong Vietnamese teams are,” said Phi Son.
“We want to be champions of the V.League and we are also aiming to become ASEAN Zonal champions. We will never be over-confident but we will give everything we have for the club and our fans,” he concluded.