Vietnam football coach to scout for players in Europe

By Hoang Nguyen   May 4, 2019 | 04:40 pm PT
Vietnam football coach to scout for players in Europe
Vietnamese-Czech goalkeeper Filip Nguyen of Slovan Liberec wants to play for Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Slovan Liberec
South Korean coach Park Hang-seo will visit Europe to check out Vietnamese-origin players competing in European leagues.

After the success of Vietnamese-Russian goalkeeper Dang Van Lam in the national football team’s recent surge, several Vietnamese origin players have expressed the desire to play for the national team.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has said it considers players of Vietnamese origin a good resource base for the national team.

Accordingly, the federation will send coach Park Hang-seo to Europe this month to see how the Vietnamese-origin players perform in their respective leagues and select those he feels can play for the national team. A scouting list of potential Vietnamese-origin players playing within and outside Vietnam has been compiled by the federation.

Park will first study two notable players: Vietnamese-Czech goalkeeper Filip Nguyen and Vietnamese-Norwegian striker Alexander Dang, who are both in high form this season.

Filip Nguyen, 26 years old and 1.90 meters tall, is currently the main goalkeeper of Slovan Liberec, one of the most successful clubs in the Czech Republic. The club is currently sixth on the Czech First League table and have a chance to play in the Europa League next season.

Alexander Dang, 29, scored 13 goals for Norwegian first division club Nest-Sotra Fotball last season, becoming the league’s top striker. This season, he has scored two goals after five games. He has already expressed his desire to represent Vietnam in international tournaments.

The schedule of Filip Nguyen and Alexander Dang fits with Park’s trip to Europe as they both have three matches to play in May.

VFF is working on the visa for Park to enter Czech, Norway and other European countries for his scouting trip.

Park will also meet with other players including Vietnamese-German centre-back Adriano Schmidt, who is currently playing in Vietnam for Hai Phong FC, Martin Lo, the Vietnamese-Australian midfielder who is playing for V. League 2 club Pho Hien FC and Vietnamese-French full back Jason Quang Vinh Pendant, who is playing for French club Sochaux FC.

VFF General Secretary Le Hoai Anh said the door to Vietnam’s national football team is always open to players of Vietnamese origin with the talent and desire to contribute to the country.

"VFF is willing to facilitate Vietnamese-origin players to join the national team if they can meet the standards demanded by the head coach as well as the legitimacy of playing for a national football team under FIFA regulations," Anh said.

Among the conditions that players of Vietnamese origin have to meet is having Vietnamese nationality; and the other is that they should not have played for any other national team.

Park has said that he welcomes players of Vietnamese origin into the national team as long as they can meet two conditions: first, they must have a strong desire to represent Vietnam and second, they have to be really talented.

"I cannot choose a player if he is not interested in playing for the national team. I also cannot select a player just because he’s playing football in Europe. So I need to see them play to evaluate their ability," he said.

In the latest update of FIFA ranking, Vietnam has moved up one spot to 98. They will compete at the annual King’s Cup in Thailand from June 5-8. Other teams in the fray are hosts Thailand (rank 114), Curaçao (rank 82), India (rank 101). Vietnam will meet Curaçao in the first match while Thailand will play India. China was in the original line up, but withdrew and El Salvador took the spot. However, due to scheduling conflicts, El Salvador could not participate and was replaced by Curaçao.

The winners of two matches will go head to head in the final, while the other two teams will play for the third place. King’s Cup is seen as a good opportunity for Vietnam to prepare for the World Cup 2022 qualification round in November.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s U23 team will play a friendly with Myanmar on June 7 in Hanoi. The team had beaten Thailand 4-0 in March to qualify for the 2020 U23 AFC Championship.

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