Sports

Golden Ball to push captain Hòa to futsal success

Phạm Đức Hòa’s dream has finally come true after struggling in football and futsal for decades.

Futsal

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Phạm Đức Hòa of Việt Nam (right) battles for possession with Tomas Vnuk of the Czech Republic during the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Group D match at Kaunas Arena on September 19, 2021 in Kaunas, Lithuania. — Photo courtesy of FIFA

Thanh Hà

Phạm Đức Hòa was the most emotional winner of the Golden Ball awarding ceremony, where he cried holding in hand the most prestigious statue for a player.

His dream has finally come true after struggling in football and futsal for decades. The Best Futsal Player of 2023 was a big milestone in his career and a strong push for him to reach higher achievements in 2024.

“I am happy to be here, winning this great award. But it is not an award from my individual effort, but the many people have supported me in training and competing,” Hòa said.

“I have been waiting for this award for a long time. When my father was alive, I promised him to bring home a Golden Ball. I completed my mission, but he died in 2017. I cried because I missed him a lot.”

The 33-year-old thanked many people, including his coaches and teammates, especially his mother and wife, who are a motivation and strong base for him to follow his passion.

Futsal fate

Hòa fell in love with football like millions of others as a child, so did not think twice when he was accepted to practise at Military Zone 7 FC.

When the club was later dissolved, Hòa and some teammates were invited to join Bình Dương in 2008.

Although Hòa showed ability and potential to play for the first team of V. League side Bình Dương he decided to quit and returned home for academic study at the University of Sports HCM City.

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Phạm Đức Hòa will captain Việt Nam to play at the upcoming 2024 AFC Futsal Asian Cup, seeking for their third time competing at the later 2024 FIFA World Cup. — Photo courtesy of FIFA

“Coaches asked me to stay and promised to give me a chance to compete in the national premier league. However, I thought that with my ability, I could not play in that tough competition. I thought I would be better to go back to school,” said Hòa.

Back to normal life, Hòa still reserved a slot to practise football with the former club because “I was so addicted that it’s hard to stop.”

Hòa was introduced to futsal — a mini version of football played indoors — in 2011. He was invited to play at amateur tournaments in Đà Nẵng and HCM City.

One year later, he switched to playing as a pro and chose futsal as his career.

Having speed, scoring skills and a never-give-up spirit helped him adapt to the new sport, and he shone as a fixo (defender) and an ala (midfielder).

“If I didn’t give up my football dream, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” said Hòa.

Since then, he has won six national championship titles and seven National Cups with the national top club Thái Sơn Nam.

Individually, Hòa was the national championship’s MVP in 2017 and 2023, and received the Silver Ball in 2017 and Bronze Ball in 2018 and 2019.

He was one of two first Vietnamese players invited to play in the Spanish futsal league in 2020. Hòa competed for O Parrulo Ferrol FS for several months before he had to unexpectedly return home because of the pandemic.

Despite a short time abroad, Hòa learned a lot to help open his mind and improve his ability.

“Their way of practising is really professional. Although it is training, they play aggressively and seriously like in a competition,” Hòa said.

“Foreign players take care of themselves carefully. When they experience any problem, they immediately consult the coaching board and the specialist in charge. Taking care of your health to ensure strong competition and training is always the most important thing. That’s what I appreciated and learned from them.”

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Phạm Đức Hòa (left) receives the Golden Ball statue for the Best Futsal Player of 2024. — Photo toquoc.vn

Internationally, he has won silver and three bronzes at the Asian Futsal Club Championship and took part in Việt Nam’s two historic World Cup campaigns in 2016 and 2021.

Third World Cup mission

Việt Nam have qualified for the finals of the Asian Cup, which will be held in Thailand this April. It is a 2024 World Cup qualification.

Being in Group A with Myanmar, China and the hosts, Hòa and his teammates must top the four, which will allow them to join the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup, the global largest futsal competition, for the third time.

At the Uzbekistan World Cup on September 14-October 6, the Vietnamese team is expected to do better than their top-16 finishes previously.

Speaking after winning the Golden Ball, national skipper Hòa said: “The award is not only a recognition for what I have done in futsal, but also a strong push for me to work harder to reach my goals individually and for the national team in the upcoming events.”

Theo Vietnamnews