Swans Cap First Vietnamese AFL Captain – Nguyen Quang Vinh
The Vietnam Swans are fiercely proud of their growing local presence and have started to notice the effects on the pitch with several local players catching onto the skills and developing unique roles of their own built around pace, new lines and outright enthusiasm.
This has come to an amazing level with the Swans announcing Nguyen Quang Vinh acting Captain this weekend when the Swans travel to play in the Shanghai Cup as part of the first ever AFL game in Asia! Swans skipper Billy Crang told us “Although devastated I couldn’t get to Shanghai to be part of what’s a cracking Swannies squad I couldn’t think of anyone better to take the reigns. Vinh’s leadership in our local development push as well as as a key part of our team up forward has been inspirational. Like always I know he’ll enjoy the challenge, play his heart out for the team and pop up for some crucial goals when we need them. I know I’ll be glued to my phone late Saturday preying for pics of Vinh and the boys holding that trophy!”
We caught up with the man himself just as he rushed (literally seconds to spare in true Swans captain style) to the airport ready to lead his country and take on Asia’s best:
SIS: How has playing for the swans been for you?
Vinh: The Swans is one of the favorite things in my life. It is not only a social sport club but also a family for those who believe it is. Playing for the Swans is like I come to the fight with my brothers and I fight not only for me but also for my brothers.
SIS: What were the biggest challenges of the game?
Vinh: The concept of the AFL game is completely different from that of our popular games in Vietnam. Hence, the skills, the contact, the rules, the field… are all challenging to us. However, with the helpful team here there’s a lot of advice given to us and that helps us to access the game comfortably and easily.
SIS: How do you feel the local development movement is going?
Vinh: The Swans are working hard and seriously on local development. Despite being way behind in terms of the time running the local development program compared to other countries, the Swans have shown their intense effort to develop not only the quantity but also the quality of the Vietnamese players.
Last year, Dinh Anh Nguyen was voted as the best player of the Vietnam Swans B team playing in the Asian Champs Division 2 after only six months training in this sport. The Vietnam Swans now have a good squad of Vietnamese and will challenge it’s neighbor, the Cambodian Eagles, on the Vietnamese vs Cambodian (ed.local players) game this September. It will be a great achievement for the Swans after a year tirelessly and continuously investing in local development as well as a huge step for the Vietnamese locals to show their talents to the world.
Furthermore, the AFL Asia is firmly leading local development around Asia. It sponsors a number of events taking place around Asia for the locals to play and experience the game such as the AFL Asia Lions vs Team China this weekend, The all-Asian Cup a day before the Asian Champs and the exhibition game between the locals and expats at the Indochina Cup. I think in 2020 Asia will have more qualified teams to take part and succeed in the International Cup in Australia.
SiS: What will it mean to play as Captain in Shanghai?
Vinh: There are a lot of respectful players in the team and I have never thought of being chosen to be a Captain of the Vietnam Swans. Wearing the captains armband of the Vietnam Swan is always a great honor for anyone. I am not sure what I can do as a captain but I will definitely put my best in.
Footnote: SportInSaigon was incredibly impressed to see Vinh slip into Swans captain mode so smoothly this morning and in typical style holding up the airport so he could sneak through and head on tour. The handsome approach is indeed a new element and we say extremely well overdue! Great work Vinh!