Goalkeeper Filip Nguyễn will not wear the Việt Nam national team’s jersey. - Photo oxii.vn
HÀ NỘI — Czech-Vietnamese goalkeeper Filip Nguyễn has accepted a call-up to the Czech national team, ending his pursuit of a place in the Vietnamese national team.
“Yesterday, I received the news that I can represent the national team of the Czech Republic. After a family meeting, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity," Nguyễn posted on his Facebook page on Sunday.
Nguyễn, born in 1992, is the top goalkeeper of Slovan Liberec, one of the most successful teams in the Czech Republic with three league titles and one Czech Cup win since 1993.
Last season, he played 34 games and posted nine clean sheets. In 2018, Nguyễn, who was born to a Czech mother and a Vietnamese father, was named the best goalkeeper of the Czech First League.
Nguyễn has repeatedly expressed his hope to play for the Vietnamese national and was once on a list of overseas Vietnamese players introduced by the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) to coach Park Hang-seo. However, he has not been naturalised in Việt Nam, so has not been called up.
In mid-August, Nguyễn confirmed there was only one more step to complete the procedure, which was to be in Việt Nam to apply for a permanent residence card.
"What a pity! I cannot wait for the VFF and the Vietnamese Government to grant citizenship, which I have been trying to apply for over the past three years," said Nguyễn.
"Starting with the Czech team will stop my chances of playing for the Vietnamese team. I hope fans understand and sympathise with my decision. Thank you for always supporting me," Nguyễn added.
According to FIFA regulations, if a player competes for a national team in an official tournament the player is ineligible for any other national team.
After beating Slovakia 3-1 in the UEFA Nations League last week, the Czech team discovered two of their two massage therapists had COVID-19. Therefore, all players and staff involved in the match were quarantined. The Football Association of the Czech Republic had to choose other players to prepare for the match against Scotland early tomorrow morning (Vietnamese time), including goalkeeper Nguyễn.
Speaking with zingnews.vn, Nguyễn Minh, Nguyễn's father said he respected his son's decision.
“My son loves the Vietnamese team very much, but he can’t wait any more. He must have a residence card, but it cannot be issued when he is in the Czech Republic.
"He plays for Slovan Liberec. If he returns to Việt Nam to complete the procedures, he will be quarantined for 14 days. Alongside the time spent travelling and doing procedures, his career in the Czech Republic would be ruined.”
General secretary of the VFF Lê Hoài Anh expressed his regret and said the Vietnamese team will improve their competitiveness by gathering talented players who want to contribute to the country.
Previously, overseas Vietnamese players have returned to the country and contributed significantly to the team, such as midfielder Mạc Hồng Quân who is playing for Quảng Ninh Coal and goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm who plays for Muangthong United of Thailand.
For issues related to Vietnamese players living abroad, over the years, the VFF has carried out the task of assisting with professional qualification and proposing procedural support to the players to help them return to contribute to the national team. In case of not having Vietnamese nationality, the player must follow legal procedures to gain Vietnamese nationality.
At the beginning of the 2019 football season, Nguyễn refused an offer to sign for HCM City FC to stay in the Czech Republic.
A representative of HCM City told zingnews.vn that: "Nguyễn wants to have the opportunity to play at the top clubs in European clubs. It was the beginning of 2019 when he was playing well and had the opportunity to prove himself. He wants to have a Vietnamese nationality to play for Việt Nam, but he doesn't work to play the V.League 1, he thinks it's a step back in his career, meanwhile, his father wants him to return Việt Nam." — VNS