Saturday , July 13 2024

Midfielder praises Vietnamese-Czech goalkeeper ahead of Asian Cup

Vietnam’s key midfielder Do Hung Dung praised the talent of the newly naturalized goalkeeper Filip Nguyen at his first training session with the national football team.

“Filip Nguyen is trying to communicate with his teammates in Vietnamese and create a better connection with other players,” Dung said before a national team training session on Wednesday. “There’s no doubt about his talent. I hope he will adapt quickly.”

Filip was born in 1992 to a Czech mother and a Vietnamese father. He started his career at a youth academy and then played for Sparta Prague’s first team before moving to other Czech clubs like Bydzov, Vlasim, Slova Liberec and Slovacko. Filip was named the best goalkeeper in the Czech National Football League for the 2018-2019 season.

After joining Vietnamese club CAHN in the V. League 2023 season, Filip met local residency requirements and completed his naturalization process in December.

As Filip obtained his Vietnamese citizenship, he got called up to the Vietnam national football team for the first time. He’s likely to become the main goalkeeper of the national team at the upcoming Asian Cup, as the number one goalkeeper Dang Van Lam will not be able to participate due to injury.

Filip said he learned how to sing Vietnam’s national anthem on YouTube and hired a private tutor to teach him Vietnamese twice a week. In recent matches with Cong An Ha Noi FC, the 31-year-old goalie has been able to communicate with his defenders in Vietnamese.

“I love Vietnamese and I can speak it,” Filip said. “I’m also looking forward to representing Vietnam on the national football team. It’s a dream come true.”

Although Filip is a stellar addition to the national squad, the team had also lost many key players ahead of the Asian Cup. Besides Lam, Nguyen Thanh Chung, Bui Tien Dung, Hoang Van Toan, Que Ngoc Hai, Nguyen Tien Linh and Nguyen Hoang Duc will not play due to injuries.

Midfielder Do Hung Dung during a training session on Jan. 3, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Midfielder Do Hung Dung during a training session on Jan. 3, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Dung believes that Vietnam are not the only team with injuries.

“The important thing is that we try to make the most out of what we have,” Dung said. “Of course, Ngoc Hai and Tien Linh are key players on the national team. But this is also a chance for young players to prove themselves at a major tournament. Hopefully, they will fill the gap that their seniors left,” he added.

The 30-year-old midfielder also commented that in difficult games, mistakes can happen to young players.

“Everyone wants to win and no one wants defeat. We might not maintain our form or might have some problems against strong opponents, but the spirit of the team is always at its highest. I hope everyone will keep supporting the team no matter the result,” Dung added.

The 2023 Asian Cup finals will take place in Qatar from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10 with 24 participating teams, divided into six groups.

The top two teams of each group and the four third-place teams with the best records will qualify for the round of 16.

Vietnam are in group D and will face Japan on Jan. 14, Indonesia on Jan. 19 and Iraq on Jan. 24.

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