Coach Bora Milutinovic (R) praises Nguyen Hong Son after selecting him for training at Qatar's Aspire Sports Academy under its Football Dream program. Photo: Kha Hoa
A dream came true for 13-year-old Nguyen Hong Son Wednesday when he was chosen for training at Qatar's Aspire Sports Academy under its global Football Dream program.
Son said he was surprised and happy to hear he was selected by the academy's representative, Bora Milutinovic, the Serbian famous for coaching five different countries to the World Cup.
Milutinovic touched the boy from the Promotion Fund of Vietnamese Football Talents (PVF), a training program funded by local enterprises, and praised him for his outstanding performance during the three-day selection trial at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium.
"This is a talent and I believe he will have a good future," he said.
Son was the only boy chosen from among the 30 in HCMC who had been short-listed from out of almost 1,000 around the country.
Milutinovic said: "This boy has much better qualities than other players, especially in moving fast and flexibly applying the strategies.
"My assistants and I were asked to choose three boys to be sent to Aspire, but actually only Hong Son has impressed me."
A month earlier Son and his PVF team were thrown out of the Under-13 National Tournament because the organizers thought Son was older than 13.
"I was shocked by the incident. All the legal documents about me and my family had been recognized by authorized agencies," he said.
"The PVF team did not do anything wrong. Yet we were punished. When the instructors [at PVF] called me to train again for the Aspire experts to watch and choose the best players [for the Aspire Academy], I was still suffering from the incident.
"The instructors gave me a lot of support and encouragement. Actually, I did not do my best in the tests the past few days. But it was like a dream come true for me when I was selected."
PVF coach Bui Doan Quang Huy, who was present at the trials, said: "Psychologically, Hong Son was actually still badly affected by the incident, but he put in a lot of effort and played intelligently, so he was much better than the other boys."
Son will fly to Qatar early next year. If he meets the requirements after a month of training, he will be chosen to train in Qatar for three years like Nguyen Thai Sung of Da Nang before.
Depending on his development during the period, Aspire Academy will keep him and provide further intensive training or introduce him to clubs.
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