Vietnamese-Nigerian striker fires back after aggression ban

By Lam Thoa   April 2, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
Vietnamese-Nigerian striker fires back after aggression ban
Hoang Vu Samson (in yellow) in Thanh Hoa FC jersey. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Professional Football JSC.
Hoang Vu Samson has queried accusations made against him by his club Thanh Hoa FC, which banned him from first-team football for the rest of the season for aggressive play.

Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) suspended Samson, real name Samson Kayode Olaleye, for three V. League matches and fined him VND15 million ($645) on Wednesday for kicking SHB Da Nang goalkeeper Nguyen Tuan Manh in the thigh during a game on March 29.

"I accept the three-game ban from VFF. But I didn’t commit the foul on purpose. At the moment, Thanh Hoa was losing, so I was eager to look for a goal. I thought I was able to touch the ball before the goalkeeper did so I went for it. To be honest, I didn’t even see the keeper since I was too focused on the ball. As a striker, my job is to score goals," Olaleye said.

A few hours after VFF’s decision, Thanh Hoa decided to ban him from first-team football for the rest of the season. He is only allowed to play with the youth team.

"The punishment is unprofessional. I fought for the team and tried to score goals to save them from a loss, now they've turned their back on me when I need their support. They need to understand that a striker needs to take risks in such situations. Imagine if I just skipped every chance and don’t even bother to go for the ball, what would happen to the team?"

Olaleye said he was not informed by the club about the ban.

"If Thanh Hoa doesn’t let me play then fine, I won’t play for them anymore. I will find another club. But the funny thing is, the club didn’t even tell me about the punishment. I only became aware of it when my teammate told me during training yesterday. It’s ridiculous."

Club officials, pending a police investigation, have also accused the player of match-fixing, saying he had missed too many opportunities to score.

"I've been playing football in Vietnam for many years and have never faced such an allegation. I’m a professional player and I’m completely untarnished. If Thanh Hoa wants to investigate me, I’m fine with it. But I will also get domestic and international lawyers for this case. I’m willing to take the punishment if they can find anything impure about me. However, if they cannot, I will sue the club and ask for millions of dollars in compensation. They can’t just go and ruin my image like that," Olaleye maintained.

The striker also talked about his passion for Thanh Hoa.

"It’s nonsense that I miss scoring opportunities on purpose. I scored three goals in five games. Let me tell you about my desire to contribute to the club. On March 18, when Thanh Hoa played Hanoi FC, I scored a goal and celebrated like crazy even though I used to play eight years for Hanoi. That showed how dedicated I am to Thanh Hoa. I always fight for the club and fans every time I play."

In his 14 years in Vietnam, Olaleye became the most prolific scorer in V. League history with 201 goals.

The striker became a naturalized Vietnamese citizen in 2013.

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