HANOI (15 Jan 2011) – Vietnam captain Nguyen Minh Phuong has quit the national team following their failure to retain the AFF Suzuki Cup they won two years ago. Vietnam picked up their maiden silverware of the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2008 when they beat Thailand in the final.
But last month, their quest for back-to-back crowns was stopped in the semi-finals by eventual champions Malaysia.
The 30-year-old midfielder had been playing for the Vietnam national team for the last decade and his decision to quit was supported by Vietnam chief coach Henrique Calisto and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
“I’m very sad to leave the team in the context of not having been able to defend the AFF Suzuki Cup. But I made this decision in early 2010 when I was convened for the qualifying round of the Asian Championship. At that time, coach Calisto encouraged me to play with the team for one more year,” Minh Phuong said.
“I’m beginning to feel my age and I want to spend more time with my club and my family. I hope that better players will replace me in the national team.”
Minh Phuong first joined the national squad in 2002 and had always maintained his key position as a wily playmaker. He participated in five consecutive editions of the AFF Championships and finally won the crown in 2008.
With 73 caps, Minh Phuong broke Huynh Duc’s record of playing 66 games for the national team. He has scored 12 goals throughout his career in the international arena.
Minh Phuong firstly played for Saigon Port FC, which won the national championship 2001. In 2002, he left Saigon Port for Dong Tam Long An club for a record transfer fee then of VND400 million (USD21,000).
After eight years with Dong Tam Long An, Minh Phuong finally left the club to join Da Nang FC where he took two V-League crowns and also the season opening Super Cup.