- Who is behind the historic World Cup ticket of Vietnamese futsal?09:33 | 23/02/2016
The Vietnamese futsal squad have made their way to the FIFA Futsal World Cup, but such success does not have so much to do with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) as it does with a businessman working painstakingly and quietly behind the team.
Vietnam have advanced to the semifinals of the ongoing AFC Futsal Championship in Uzbekistan, thus qualifying for the World Cup, to be held in Colombia from September 10 to October 1, as one of the five Asian representatives, according to FIFA rules.
The team shocked supporters at home and across the globe with a terrific win over Japan in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The VFF, Vietnam’s governing body of football, could not pride itself on the historic achievement of the national futsal team, as it has contributed almost nothing to developing the sport.
The success of the futsal team is in fact a sweet fruit businessman Tran Anh Tu could finally pick after nearly a decade spending time and money, as well as exerting effort to build a professional futsal team from amateur players.
Tu is chairman of the board of members of Thai Son Nam Trading Co. Ltd., a Ho Chi Minh City-based electric equipment distributor, and also head of the futsal division under the VFF. The company has a northern branch, called Thai Son Bac.
In 2007, he formed a futsal club for Thai Son Nam, and hired Pattaya Piamkum, former coach of the Thai futsal squad, to lead both the club and the Vietnamese team.
When the club and the national team had both improved and become more professional, Tu went on to invite better coaches to take the helm.
From 2010 to 2013, coach Sergio Gargelli led the team, but eventually failed to meet the target of making Vietnam one of the eight best futsal squads in Asia. Tu then parted company with the Italian, and signed Bruno Garcia Formoso .
Formoso, who was named Spain’s best futsal coach in the 2011-12 season, was tasked with leading the Vietnamese futsal team in the World Cup campaign, a mission he can now proudly say accomplished.
Besides inviting the best possible coaches, Tu also invested heavily in overseas training trips for his players.
Vietnam have 14 players at the AFC Futsal Championship in Uzbekistan, nine of whom are members of Thai Son Nam and two from Thai Son Bac.
Tu’s love and effort for futsal has paid off, as Vietnam made history in Uzbekistan earlier this week after the Japan victory.
The commentator of FOX Sports once said the result was “incredible,” while FIFA called the match “the most dramatic quarterfinal of the day.”
On Thursday, Colin Smith, FIFA director of competitors, even sent a congratulatory letter to the VFF to welcome Vietnam to the World Cup.
“Yesterday was a historic moment for the nation’s futsal team securing its first ever qualification for a FIFA Futsal World Cup,” reads the letter, addressed to VFF general secretary Le Hong Anh.
Smith also sent FIFA’s congratulations to coach Formoso for leading the team to the historic achievement.
Vietnam will face Iran in the second semifinal at 9:00 pm (Vietnam time) on Friday, whereas the Uzbeks are scheduled to play Thailand in the first match at 4:00 pm.
Coach Formoso has underlined that Iran are an Asian futsal power and the Vietnamese team should not lose their focus on the rest of their journey in Uzbekistan.
Portrait of famous people
- Le Huynh Duc is former captain of Vietnamese national Football team. He is currently coaching SHB Ðà Nẵng.
- Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is to retire at the end of the season.
- Striker Le Cong Vinh is playing for SLNA
- Lionel Messi became the best scorer in a year with 91 goals in 2012.