Viet Nam News -
Việt Nam’s futsal has made history as they will compete in the World Cup in Colombia this September for the first time.
The team may not have seen their best days without Trần Anh Tú, who has spent heart, mind and labour on the sport. Khiếu Thanh Hà talked with Tú, boss of the national leading futsal club Thái Sơn Nam and head of the national futsal department about his passion and plans.
What are main reasons that made you decide to bring and develop futsal in Việt Nam?
Spending time and money for futsal is comparable to doing my business. I do it because of my love and confidence. I love football in general and futsal in particular. Watching futsal is one of my hobbies, not just because I am a boss of a club and a member of the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF).
Since I started my special investment in futsal in 2007, I found that the physique of the Vietnamese was well suited for the sport. I believed that my club Thái Sơn Nam and the national movement would soon develop strongly.
By then my faith in futsal was growing steadily. I knew that we would find a berth in the Asian and then world futsal.
After more than a decade with futsal, what do you think are your advantages and disadvantages?
As the main person in this field I experienced a lot of difficulties. Imagine that you have to find a way out of the darkness. It is never easy. My assistants and I had to build futsal from the very basic level. Playing grounds were in empty warehouses and players were amateurs or those who had moved from football. Step by step we ran the sport and learnt from our experiences to do better.
And advantage? I do not think there were any for us. The only thing in my favour was that I was not compared with anyone because I was the only one. I am also a lucky man having very hard-working and enthusiast partners. My Thái Sơn Nam are always a united team which is home to ambitious individuals who look for victories.
As the man who contributes a lot to the development of the sport nationwide what do you think about the team’s ticket to the 2016 World Cup in Colombia?
It is a great effort by the whole team. My players sacrificed a lot including their family life to spend all their days and nights training to achieve their goal. If you watch the semi-final match between Việt Nam and Japan again you will see the difference in levels between the two teams. But we won the game thanks to the superb attempts by the players and coaches. It has never happened before in a continent’s official tournament that a team beat their rivals who are 30 ranks above them. I think it was an extraordinary night for the team. It resulted from a methodological preparation.
As the person who takes the main responsibilities for futsal in Việt Nam you had been making plans for a couple of years to push the national team into the World Cup. What were these plans and what did you do to make them come true?
First, we found a good coach for the team. Bruno Gracia is one of the most famous coaches in the world of futsal. He used to be the manager of Spain, the leading country playing futsal. Gracia used to work successfully in Peru and China that are at the same level with Việt Nam. The VFF and I are totally confident that he could help us improve our quality.
Second, through these years, the national team, the local clubs such as Thái Sơn Nam and Sanna Khánh Hòa have enjoyed a number of training courses abroad and taken part in international competitions.
Players have experienced and collected the advanced techniques and then they have integrated that into developing the sport. They have also found an effective playing style against much stronger rivals.
Grabbing a World Cup ticket is a hard job. Competing well and winning a game at the Colombia World Cup is much more difficult. What are the plans for the national team in preparation for the Cup?
This year seems to be a special year for Việt Nam’s futsal. The ongoing national championship saw a better competition schedule than usual. It is a necessary condition for players to show off their talent and for coaches to select the best players for the national team. After the good result in the Asian Championship we understand that the key element for success is the well prepared team. As a result, the national team will receive special support.
In this month, after the first leg of the national tournament, they will leave for a short training stint in Japan and play with the Japanese team. In mid-August, they will enjoy another one. The destination could be either Spain or Brazil in two weeks, before a week in Peru, where they will familiarise themselves with the weather and climate similar to Colombia. And then they move to Colombia for the World Cup. We hope that such a preparation will help us do a good job.
After Việt Nam’s historical win in the Asian championship, futsal has received attention from different classes of people while the sport is being played widely. Do you think there is a strong effort to promote futsal in the country?
That is exactly what I want, not the temporary admiration. People just remember our feat for a short while and then forget it unless we take this opportunity to raise the level of the sport. Winning a World Cup berth is a historic achievement and also a momentous chance for Việt Nam futsal.
In your opinion, as a businessman who uses his own money to sponsor clubs, tournament and training centres, what are the key elements to make futsal a professional sport, not an amateur one like it has been?
There are many. You should know that our futsal has just been developed over a short period, but I have not been out of the shadow of football. Most futsal players are from football or street football. Updated, Thái Sơn Nam is the only centre in Việt Nam providing specific training course for futsal.
In the near future, I expect the young generation growing up in the clubs to make the difference. To be a professional sport, futsal needs more ‘crazy’ men such as me, who love and really want to contribute to its development.
The sport will return to its golden early days if clubs receive more sponsorship, people flood the gymnasiums and futsal becomes a subject in schools. In other words, if futsal is taken care of at its grassroots, it would be professional in the near future. – VNS