Vietnamese midfielder Chương Thị Kiều heads the ball during the SEA Games final match against Thailand. Photo news.depplus.vn
HÀ NỘI An outstanding performance at the 30th SEA Games and her brilliant form in the domestic championship pushed Chương Thị Kiều to be favourite for the 2019 Golden Ball title which will be announced next week.
Kiều was one of the key players for both HCM City FC which won the national championship in October and the Việt Nam women’s football team who triumphed at the AFF Cup in August and sixth SEA Games title after winning in the Philippines Games last month.
The midfielder won the heart of the nation as she played 90 minutes with a bandaged thigh after a first half injury in the final over arch-rival Thailand which they won 1-0.
She not only continued providing balls to the front line but also helped the defence.
“Coach Mai Đức Chung asked if I could continue playing. I said ‘yes’,” said 24-year-old Kiều.
“I am an experienced player of the team. I believed that my appearance on the field would make my teammates more confident and encourage them to play better,”
“It is really hurt. Together with my knee injury which has not been recovered totally, it made me change my tactics.
“With these injuries I could not play with aggression because Thai players are bigger and stronger. I needed to think more, read the game and choose the right place to be, so that I would not waste my energy but still do my job,” said right-footed Kiều who however plays mostly on the left side.
The victory of the team was recognized nationally. They received a national Order of Labour, second class, presented by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on December 22.
Kiên Giang Province-born Kiều left for HCM City at the age of 12, believing that playing football in the big city would help her poor family.
Four years later in 2011, Kiều earned a place in first team of HCM City and was called to the national team, the youngest member of the team at that time.
Since then, she has won four national championships, two AFF Cup trophies, one silver and two gold medals at the SEA Games. She also grabbed her personal titles including = Việt Nam’s best young women’s player of the year in 2012 and 2015, a Silver Ball statue in 2016 and a Bronze Ball in 2018.
Chinese coach Chen Yun Fat who took charge of Việt Nam at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar appreciated her efforts, saying when she was 19 Kiều was a special player with born qualities for football and a passion for the sport. If she could maintain her love and strive more in career she would be the best Vietnamese player in the future.
Coach Đoàn Kim Chi of HCM City also said Kiều was a funny and friendly girl off the pitch but was serious and strong in training and matches. She was an indispensable player of the team.
Meanwhile national coach Chung said: “Kiều is a wonderful player, a rare one in Việt Nam. She plays smart and can read the game. The midfielder could also play as a striker with her sharp goal skills.”
He revealed that his player has received offers to play in Japan and Serbia. No decision has been made but Kiều said she was ready to take her opportunity.
Kiều and her team are now preparing for their next competition, the Tokyo Olympic qualifies, which will begin in February.
“My target is to play well at the qualifier. If we could take a slot, it would be the greatest moment in my career. It will also be a strong push for our task of winning the first World Cup spot in history,” Kiều said.
“These targets are not easy. But we were very close at the 2015 World Cup competition but missed in the last seconds. But we could definitely make it in the future,” she said. VNS
Chương Thị Kiều is treated after a thigh injury she picked up during the final. Photo giadinh.net