|Huỳnh Như (middle) celebrates with her Lank FC teammates. Photo bongdaplus.vn|
Can you name the Vietnamese footballer who’s scored the most goals in European competition?
It’s not Đoàn Văn Hậu, Nguyễn Quang Hải or even legendary striker Le Cong Vinh – it’s Huỳnh Như.
The Việt Nam women’s team forward is off to a sensational start to her career in Europe for Lank FC in Portugal, with a stellar record of six goals and three assists in 13 appearances.
Như signed for the Braga-based side in August last year after years of dominance in local football, including four Golden Ball titles.
Quang Hải made his move over to Europe just a few months before Như and the attention from the press and fans alike for his departure was considerably higher.
While that was understandable at the time to a degree there’s no question that at this stage, Như should be in the spotlight over the diminutive playmaker.
For one thing she’s actually succeeding on the pitch, whereas Quang Hải has struggled to even win minutes in the second tier of French football.
Perhaps more importantly though, Như is setting the example for other Vietnamese players to follow, so I feel it would only benefit Vietnamese football if we had a better understanding of why she’s had a level of success no other player (male or female) has achieved.
Did she make a concerted effort to learn Portuguese or English? How was she training physically to prepare for the move? Has she brought her family with her to Europe? Have Lank FC made special accommodations to make Như’s transition to life in Portugal smoother?
Answering these questions substantially would not only help fans better understand what it takes for a Vietnamese player to flourish overseas, but could also help those following in Như’s footsteps to better plot their journeys.
Let’s face it, the men’s players who have gone abroad need all the help they can get and perhaps the fame and fortune Việt Nam’s top male stars achieve domestically is what has held them back when moving abroad.
The reality is the likes of Quang Hải and Nguyễn Công Phượng can earn fortunes in endorsement and advertising deals in Việt Nam and maybe this takes a little bit of their hunger away.
In comparison, stars of the women’s game like Như earn vastly less, which is perhaps why she’s taken this opportunity of a lifetime and ran with it.
Whatever the reason for her success, it’s time Như got more respect for what she has achieved, and just maybe she’ll be able to help others follow in her footsteps. VNS