National champions Thai Son Nam are ready to compete in the AFC Club Futsal Championship in Bangkok, Thailand from August 7 to 17.
|Rafiei Pour Alireza Abolghasem from Iran training with his new team, Thai Son Nam, in HCM City. The team will compete in the upcoming AFC Club Futsal Championship in Thailand. Photo tuoitre.vn|
As last year’s runners-up, the club's goal this year is to take the gold medal.
Thai Son Nam are in intensive training to prepare for their sixth appearance in the annual tournament.
To prepare for the event, Thai Son Nam recruited Rafiei Pour Alireza Abolghasem from Iran and Kazuya Shimizu, who is the captain of Japan's U20 team.
Abolghasem played a big role in Iran's futsal team taking the title at the AFC Championship in 2018. He is expected to bring Thai Son Nam’s quality to a higher level. He plays the "fixo" role – the deepest position in the formation (similar to a centre defender on an 11-player football team).
“I am very glad to wear the jersey of a big club like Thai Son Nam," said Abolghasem. "They are not only a big team in Vietnam but also in Asia. I have a wonderful boss and a good coach. I love everyone here."
“Last year, Thai Son Nam were the runners-up," he said. "This year, I want to help my new team take the title. This is a common desire of all members of the team. We will try our best to complete this target."
To attract such high-level players as Abolghasem and Shimizu, the club surely had to spend big. According to a source, Thai Son Nam will spend up to VND700 million (US$30,400) on each new foreign player.
The team also welcomed three key domestic players from Thai Son Bac to strengthen their line-up: Nguyen Van Huy, Nguyen Thanh Tin and Vu Duc Tung.
This is not the first time Thai Son Nam has recruited a big foreign player ahead of the international event.
Ahead of the AFC Futsal Championship two years ago, the club signed Hossein Tayyebi of Iran, who scored eight goals to help Thai Son Nam finish third.
Thai Son Nam are in Group B, which is considered the toughest of the four groups thanks to the presence of two rivals – Naft Al Wasat (Iraq) and Al Rayyan SC (Qatar) – along with rookies AGMK FC (Uzbekistan).
This will be AFMK's first appearance in the continental tournament. The two other teams have each faced Thai Son Nam several times in the past.
The team will leave for Thailand on July 29 to train before the competition.
The Vietnamese representative will take on AGMK on August 7, Al Rayyan on August 9 and Nafit Al Wasat two days later.