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Golden Ball winner Quyết revels in success




Nguyễn Văn Quyết holds his Golden Ball award at the ceremony on Tuesday in HCM City. — Photo

Thanh Hà

Nearly 10 years ago, Nguyễn Văn Quyết’s name was called at the night of Golden Ball Awards ceremony as the youngster took the best young player of the year award.

On the stage, the 19-year-old said the silverware would motivate him to seek success in his career and the Golden Ball.

Ten years later, Quyết has become the nation’s top player of 2020 and won the Golden Ball after a couple of near-misses.

“It is a special day today for me. Ten years ago I was the best young player. Today marks my 10th year playing professional football and also 10th year since my first time playing for the national team,” said Quyết.

“I have been waiting for years to have the chance to take this honour for the first time. It is amazing. And this will be my career’s turning point.”

The captain of Hà Nội FC has shone in a year that football was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

When most football leagues had to be suspended, Việt Nam’s national competitions came to an end successfully. Players had opportunities to strut their stuff while supporters were allowed to cheer them on in person.

In that setting, Quyết helped his club defend their National Cup title, finish second in the V.League 1 and grab their fourth Super Cup trophy.

“I played in all competitions with the club and scored as many as I could. Besides my own efforts, I also received strong support from my teammates who also worked really hard to contribute to our team’s result. They are part of my success,” said Quyết.

Great loser

Over the last 10 years, hard-working Quyết has become a key part of Hà Nội’s success and has also starred in the national team.

Under his belt are five V.League 1 titles, two National Cups, four Super Cups and an AFF Cup triumph with the national team.

However, the Golden Ball eluded him despite his best efforts.

Previously, his best result was twice placing second with Silver Balls in 2014 and 2015.

In other years, he couldn’t even make the shortlist despite performing well.

In 2016 and 2017, his outstanding performances made it seem like it was his time, but pushing referee Hoàng Phạm Công Khanh and elbowing Nghiêm Xuân Tú of Quảng Ninh meant he didn’t even make the top three.

The year 2019 was amazing for Quyết as he scored 21 goals and assisted 10. Under his captaincy, Hà Nội made history as the first Vietnamese club to advance to the AFC Cup’s Inter-zone final. He was a top candidate for title. But a tackle against Sông Lam Nghệ An’s defender Nguyễn Đình Đồng late in the season resulted in a red card and destroyed his chances.

He was also absent from national team coach Park Hang-seo’s team after the AFF Cup victory as the South Korean said he didn’t suit his tactics.

The opportunity to represent his country seemed lost.

However, Quyết has never stopped doing his best and responds to each setback with more hard work on and off the field.

While 2020 was tough for most people around the world, Quyết shone in a year when the Golden Ball selectors had no national team matches to base their decisions on, only local tournaments.

He played all 20 matches for Hà Nội and scored five goals but perhaps more impressively, was involved in 20 out of the team’s 37 goals.

He was voted the best player of Hà Nội, named the best player of the V.League 1 season and in the best XI by the national football organising board.

With the Golden Ball now in his collection, he has won every local individual title available.

“It is a great mark in my career because I have been recognised in all levels – man of a match, the best player of the club, the best player of the V.League and now the best player of the season,” said Quyết

“To me, the Golden Ball is not also a dream but a responsibility. It will remind me to be responsible in football and the belief that many people have in me. I will prove that I am worthy of the votes they gave me.

“I will have to work harder and harder for better results for Hà Nội in 2021 and the national team if I have a chance to play,” said Quyết, who seems to have won Park’s trust again.

He was called up to the national team last month and scored a goal against the U22s in their friendly match.

“I hope that COVID-19 will be over and we can play football normally. I hope to see stadiums full of supporters. I also want to contribute better for Hà Nội and grab our top position back this season. And I hope to play for the national team too.”



Vietnamese shooters aim for two main targets in 2021



Vietnamese shooters aim for two main targets in 2021

Olympic medalist Hoang Xuan Vinh practices shooting. Photo courtesy of the International Shooting Sport Federation.

The Vietnam national shooting team has set two main goals for Olympics Tokyo and SEA Games 31 this year.

“The team will try to fulfill a mission, that is qualifying for all Olympic shooting categories this year,” Nguyen Thi Nhung, vice chairman of Vietnam Shooting Federation (VSF) and head coach of the national shooting team, told media.

“In addition, we will propose to add some Asian Games shooting categories to SEA Games 31. Although these categories are not our strength, we want to ensure fair competition between shooters across Southeast Asia,” she added.

Nhung confirmed Vietnam aims to foster the next generation of elite national team shooters at SEA Games 31, which will be hosted by Vietnam in November, instead of solely relying on veterans, hoping to enter bigger contests like Asian Games and the Olympics.

This is one reason why veteran shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh will not compete at SEA Games 31. The 45-year-old will instead focus on qualifying for Olympics Tokyo. Another veteran shooter, Tran Quoc Cuong, might also skip the biennial games to be held in Vietnam later this year.

Vinh participated in 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, winning gold at the latter in the 10-meter air pistol and silver in the 50-meter pistol events, becoming the first-ever Vietnamese to win an Olympic gold medal.

The absence of Vinh could cause certain difficulties for the national shooting team on the path to clinching SEA Games gold.

To prepare for 2021, VSF hosted many top tournaments across the country last year to create opportunities for athletes to train and improve, as well as for coaches to assess and evaluate the shooter quality. Throughout national tournaments, key national team shooters proved they remain in great form following good results.


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French films will be broadly screened in Vietnam



Vietnamese audiences will have chance to watch seven bespoke classic and modern French films that will be screened in 11 cities and provinces nationwide in 2021.

French films will be broadly screened in Vietnam

“A Man and a Woman” (French: Un homme et une femme) is a 1966 French film written and directed by Claude Lelouch and starring Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has granted permission to screen French films in Vietnam for the year of 2021.

The seven films are “I’m Looking for Myself”, “A Man and a Woman”, “The Princess with Donkey’s Skin”, “Girls in Rochefort City”, “Can Artificial Intelligence Outperform Humans?” “Living with Robots” and “The Journey of Brain Creating”.

The films will be screened in 11 cities and provinces nationwide, including Hanoi, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Lao Cai, Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Lat, and Can Tho.

The ministry also noted that screenings will only take place once the Covid-19 pandemic is fully brought under control in localities. In addition, relevant preventive measures must also be strictly observed.

Visit for detail information about the films and accurate screening time.



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Struggling giants Hà Nội FC hope COVID-19 break gives them a lift



Hà Nội FC midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải (centre) and teammates are working hard for the return of the V.League 1 tournament after a three-week rest due to COVID-19. Photo

HÀ NỘI — The enforced rest due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have been a boon for the country’s two best-supported teams Hà Nội FC and Hoàng Anh Gia Lai ahead of the mid-March restart.

Hà Nội are rooted to the bottom of the table with two losses in two matches, a shock for the five-time champions.

“We did not have a good start with two defeats. We will have to prepare carefully for every coming match and play well because of the tough format of the tournament,” said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm.

“Our target is the top six first, then we could vie for the title in the second period,” he said.

After the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, Nghiêm and his players all tested negative for the coronavirus and returned to training.

They have also welcomed the return of key defenders Trần Đình Trọng and Đỗ Duy Mạnh after recovery from injuries.

“They both can follow the teams’ training plan. It is a good sign for all of us,” Nghiêm told reporters.

He also said that midfielder Moses Oloya who could not play in the previous matches due to a leg injury will be back in action.

Speaking with media, star midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải is excited to play again soon.

“I really hope the pandemic is controlled well for the return of competitions. My club is struggling and under heavy pressure (after losses). We will have to overcome challenges to find ourselves,” he said.

“No one is happy with a loss of course, but we can learn about ourselves from it. We will stand up from where we collapsed and fight back strongly. Nothing could force us to give up our initial target of winning the V.League 1 title and it would be more wonderful if we could conquer the AFC Cup too,” he added.

Hà Nội, which recently extended defender Trần Văn Kiên’s contract to 2023, are now seeking opponents for friendly matches in the coming days.

They will visit Hải Phòng FC at Lạch Tray Stadium on March 13 when the league restarts.

Time for deep understanding

Thai coach Kiatisuk Senamuang of Hoàng Anh Gia Lai believes he understands his players better thanks to the extra preparation time the COVID-19 pause gave them.

“The postponement came reluctantly but personally I think it is good for teams with more time for preparing. I am closer with the players when spending more time with them in both training and daily activities,” he said.

He said the first two rounds of fixtures were like a pre-V.League 1 tournament for teams to test their line-ups, personnel and tactics.

“My players are happy to play again in the next few weeks and grab the best results. We want to take the championship trophy,” said the Thai football legend.

After two matches, Senamuang experienced one win and one loss which put his team in ninth position.

Hoàng Anh Gia Lai will host Topenland Bình Định on home turf on March 14 and Senamuang hopes to have the stands packed with fans.

In that match, the hosts will face their former striker Rimario Gordonwho failed to score a single goal in 10 matches for HAGL in the 2018 season but netted a solid goal return for Thanh Hóa and Hà Nội before signing a contract with Bình Định this year.

Gordon has scored one goal in two matches this season and is keen to punish his former team.

Speaking about his team’s preparation, Bình Định coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng said: “Following the new schedule, teams must play in tougher time table (three matches in 10 days). It requires strong physique from players, then teams in general and Bình Định, in particular, must have their own plan to make sure players’ best conditions and avoid injuries.”

Hoàng Anh Gia Lai will play a friendly match with V.League 2 side People’s Police while Bình Định will play V.League 2 Khánh Hòa in Nha Trang before their match in the Central Highlands’ Pleiku City.

Other matches will be between SHB Đà Nẵng and Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh on March 13, Quảng Ninh and HCM City and Viettel and Becamex Bình Dương on March 14.

The league organisers, the Việt Nam Professional Football Joint Stock Company (VPF), has only rescheduled 10 rounds of fixtures for the first half of the league season.

The league will pause again in mid-April when players are summoned for the national teams and some clubs take part in continental competitions.

The season will resume in July and is expected to end in September.

The V.League 2 matches will begin on March 19 while the National Cup will start in April with the exact date being confirmed later.

Local authorities will decide if supporters are allowed to attend matches. —


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