Goalie Trần Thị Kim Thanh is considered the steel shield of the Việt Nam national women’s football team. — Photo webthethao.vn
HÀ NỘI — Goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh really is Wonder Woman. In fact, the 26-year-old is known as the 'steel shield' of the Việt Nam national women’s football team.
This after her outstanding performances helping Việt Nam win the AFC Cup 2019 and the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 30.
But despite her heroics on the pitch, Thanh is more than happy to stay well out of the limelight.
“Truly, I don’t want anyone to know me," she said. "As a goal keeper, if I and my team win, I will be praised. However, if I don’t play well, I will be criticised. This will make me lose my confidence and I become demoralised.”
“After competing in the SEA Games in the Philippines, many people complimented me but I was very fearful. I am afraid that I will like goalie Bùi Tiến Dũng of the national U23 men’s team,” Thanh added.
Dũng is very famous for his performance in the AFC U23 Championship 2018 in which Việt Nam were the first runners-up for the first time ever. However, he made a number of mistakes in the same event held early this year in which Việt Nam were ousted from the qualifying round.
Thanh has also made her fair share of mistakes. In the 2018 AFF Cup making her debut for the national team, it was her error that proved costly.
“In 2018, the training board and coach Mai Đức Chung put their faith in me but I made errors in the semi-final match, causing Việt Nam lose to Australia 2-4,” said Thanh.
“After that, I lost my confidence and I thought that the chance wouldn’t come to me again. It was the first time I played officially in the jersey of the national team. I cried and was very sad. Captain Huỳnh Như encouraged me a lot.”
Then Thanh dried her tears and got back in training, desperate to improve not only her game, but also her confidence.
Her chance came at last year's AFF Cup when she helped her team triumph and then again, repeated the achievement at the SEA Games 30.
Thanh said: "Honestly, I knew my rivals and remembered my rivals’ strong points so I could judge better and became more confident. I was glad with the success of the year of 2019 but there are many events still ahead.”
Goalie Trần Thị Kim Thanh, a key member of the national women’s team. — Photo cand.com.vn
At present, Thanh is training with her teammates in South Korea to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Việt Nam have been drawn in Group A alongside Myanmar and the host of the qualifiers, South Korea. If the national team are able to clinch at least second place in their group, they will successfully progress to the final qualification round for the Tokyo.
They will meet Myanmar on February 6 and South Korea three days later.
Coming to football late
Born in a poor farming family in the southern province of Long An, Thanh came to football at the age of 14 and she admitted that she didn’t know anything about the sport at that time.
She didn’t even know people who trained her in HCM City despite one of them being Nguyễn Thị Kim Hồng who after keeping net for the national team for seven years, moved into training for country and HCM City.
"When I was in eighth class, I was selected for the goalie position for the HCM City team, said Thanh.
"I didn’t know anything about football. At the school, I only liked athletics and volleyball. My teacher saw my height, long arms and legs so he introduced me with the recruiters and I was chosen,”
Like her other teammates who were born in farming families, Thanh joined HCM City to help out at home. One less person in the household, meant one less mouth to feed.
“My father allowed me to join HCM City but my mother didn’t want me to because she worried that I was too young to live without parents. However, my father and I convinced her by informing her I would be feed, closed and trained which would lessen the burden for the family."
According to trainer Hồng, Thanh is always keen to learn, is modest in her achievements, and.trains well.
“I am very satisfied with Thanh’s efforts in the past," said Hồng. "To keep her form, she needs to try more and work both on her skills and mindset to enough she has the strength and mentality to compete at the upcoming important events.”
Thanh had only several Tết days with her family but she was very glad she did. She intends to use the prize money which she gained from the SEA Games last year to build a house for her parents.
Goalie Trần Thị Kim Thanh (middle), captain Huỳnh Như (right) and defender Chương Thị Kiều. They are close friends in both the HCM City team and national team. — Photo cand.com.vn
In the jersey of HCM City, Thanh helped her team triumph at the National Women’s Football Championship in 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, become the runners-up in 2018 and were the third-placed team in 2011 and 2013.
In the jersey of national team, she won SEA Games 2017, AFF Cup 2019, SEA Games 2019 and finished third at the AFF Cup 2018. — VNS