The Vietnam U22 team have been training at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre in Hanoi since the beginning of this month to prepare for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2021 to be held in Vietnam.
|Striker Vo Nguyen Hoang (right) is expected to shine in the U22 Vietnam. Photo zing.vn|
Among the squad, striker Vo Nguyen Hoang is expected to be a key part of the bid to retain the title at home next year.
Shining at age of 15
After the graduation of Ha Duc Chinh, Bui Tien Dung and Truong Van Thai Quy, Hoang, who was born in 2002, became the most promising young talent of the Promotion Fund for Vietnamese Football Talent (PVF) Football Training Centre.
In 2017, at the inauguration of the training complex, the PVF Centre invited U15 Stoke City from the UK to compete with U15 PVF. There were also former Manchester United players attending the event including Ryan Giggs, VPF technical director, and Paul Scholes.
In the end, U15 PVF defeated U15 Stoke City 4-2 on penalties.
After the game, coach James Ball of Stoke City said he was very surprised with the performance of the players of PVF, especially striker Hoang.
Ball said he was really impressed with Hoang for his skill, control of the ball, speed and technique. Ball said he thought that in the near future, Hoang would be an important factor for the Vietnamese national team.
Hoang is considered as the PVF's greatest talent, comparable to top players from the Hoang Anh Gia Lai youth set-up like Nguyen Cong Phuong, Luong Xuan Truong and Nguyen Tuan Anh.
In August 2016, at the age of 14, Hoang overcame nearly 30 other talented competitors across the country to win the only ticket to Senegal to attend the world final round of the programme 'Field of Dreams 2016' organised by the Aspire Institute of Qatar.
In addition, playing for the PVF youth teams, Hoang won many top scorer titles in national tournaments.
The player from Dong Thap Province has always been physically gifted and was 1.79m tall at the tender age of 15, giving him an advantage in the air. Hoang was also named the best player in the National U17 Football Tournament in 2018 and 2019.
In addition, Hoang was a familiar name for Vietnamese youth teams and in 2017, he played a key role to help U15 Vietnam beat Thailand to win the ASEAN U15 event.
Mistake at age 16
However, Hoang’s career hasn't been all roses and trophies.
In September 2018, a few Vietnamese U16 players were removed from the AFC U16 Championship finals squad for smoking and showing a poor attitude towards the coaching staff.
Hoang was among those left at home.
Being famous early caused Hoang to be arrogant. He didn’t listen to the instructions of the coaching staff and even worse, was caught smoking. Coach Vu Hong Viet decided to remove Hoang from the U16 squad before the team left for the tournament, although Viet knew how talented Hoang was.
After the regrettable incident, Hoang’s career suddenly hit a dead end.
Hoang said he had considered learning how to drive so he could work for a relative who sold building materials. But former national team player Nguyen Viet Thang, who was also Hoang’s coach, and expert Philippe Troussier at the PVF thought that coaches had the responsibility for steering young players in the right direction.
They spoke to the leaders of the PVF and persuaded them to give Hoang one more chance.
Fortunately, Hoang was still young, but the shock of being kicked out of the national U16 team was enough for him to change his ways. He trained hard and overcame the temptations of youth.
|Striker Vo Nguyen Hoang (left) in the jersey of Sai Gon FC. Photo zing.vn|
After steady steps in the national youth teams, Hoang became the key player to lead PVF to win the National U19 Football Tournament 2020.
His confidence, smart way of playing and skills have helped Hoang play extremely well for PVF U19.
“I've been following Hoàng for a long time. For me, he is the best footballer of his age group. His talent and level have been confirmed before he was called up to the U22 team to prepare for the SEA Games as well as the U19 tournaments in the country. Hoang is a striker with good health and desire. I consider him a symbol of aspirations, goals towards the success in the future of Vietnamese football,” said French expert Troussier.
Before entering the second leg of V.League 1 2020, Sai Gon FC took Hoang on loan from the PVF. This was a very difficult challenge for the 18-year-old but the striker quickly proved his talent when his opportunity came.
He got his first V.League 1 goal in the match between Sai Gon FC against Becamex Binh Duong last month.
Coach and president Vu Tien Thanh of Sai Gon FC put his faith in Hoang and used him in four matches this season in their run to a third-place finish in the top-flight.
“Hoang is only 18 years old and has been played in the national premier league but his skills are quite good and met the demand of the training staff. He has a steady mentality when he played in stressful matches. I think he will be one of the best strikers of Vietnamese teams in the near future,” said Thanh.
Hoang may be young, but he could very well be the present and future of Vietnamese football. VNS
Surprise V.League 1 leader Sai Gon FC have strengthened their squad with the loan signing of 18-year-old striker Vo Nguyen Hoang from the PVF (Promotion Fund for Vietnamese Football Talent Football Training Centre).
Renowned Asian sports website Sports442 has published an article detailing a number of leading young Vietnamese talents who may go on to have an impact on the national football team in the future.