Vietnamese football’s new position through ‘abroad contracts’

After the success of the Vietnam national football team at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and Asian Cup 2019, many key players, such as goalkeeper Van Lam, striker Cong Phuong and midfielder Xuan Truong, have signed contracts to play club football abroad and are expected to shine.

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Striker Cong Phuong (in red) is expected to gain high achievements in the RoK.

Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam has moved to Thailand, which has attracted great interest from many fans. Lam’s governing club, Muangthong United, paid a transfer sum of US$150,000 to invite him to leave Hai Phong Club and sign a three-year contract with disclosure value of around US$500,000.

Playing in a new environment abroad was a difficult decision for Lam. However, only after a few days of gathering at Muangthong Club, his views about his new team have made the fans feel reassured and they even expect an improvement of his skills and higher achievements.

He said that Muangthong focuses on deploying short balls to launch attacks from the back, so the goalkeeper has to practice moving his feet and soon determining the position of his teammates.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, Van Lam was asked to play long-ball passes to launch attacks into the penalty area. However in the recent friendly match of the leading Thai club, coach Pairoj Borwonwatanadilok did not use Van Lam. Maybe the coach wanted the Vietnamese goalkeeper to come into the game with the best preparation.

Two talented players Xuan Truong and Cong Phuong went abroad under loan contracts. Both of them used to play in the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan but did not leave any imprints. Participating in the RoK’s Gangwon Club, Xuan Truong was unsuccessful due to not meeting the expectations and professional requirements that the team set.

However, the recent loan contract to play for Thailand’s Buriram Club contains clauses that Truong must play at least 80% of the club's matches and receive the highest remuneration in Southeast Asia. This shows that the Thai football club has placed great trust in the Vietnamese midfielder.

Striker Cong Phuong has been invited to play for Incheon United Club in the RoK. In 2016, he moved to Japan to play for Mito Hollyhock Club, but did not leave a special mark. The young player was only allowed to play six matches and failed to score any goals.

In spite of being a skillful striker, Phuong rarely competed in enough 90 minutes for national team due to his physical problems. Incheon Club’s playing style is inclined to physical strength which is expected to help the striker develop more comprehensively.

The loan contract of Cong Phuong has had many adjustments, so surely he will not be kept in reserve in many matches.

Despite not making an impression, the generations of players who went abroad gained certain harvests. Striker Le Cong Vinh said his short time playing for a football club in Portugal was very useful for his career as a player as well as a club manager later.

Even Xuan Truong was stronger and more mature after his competition in the RoK’s tournament. Previously, Vietnamese players could not integrate well playing abroad partly due to their inferiority psychology of ability as well as foreign language restrictions when communicating with coaches and teammates.

The limitations have been improved, particularly after Vietnamese football’s achievements that have attracted the great attention of media and experts in Asia. Notably, in the RoK and Thailand, coach Park Hang Seo and the Vietnamese players held a special place in the hearts of the fans.

The players’ move abroad will contribute to making the Vietnam national football team stronger. It is hoped that there will be more Vietnamese players on the international stage, improving the position of the national football sector.

Nhan Dan

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