AFC Asian Cup 2019 – Players to Watch: Nguyen Quang Hai

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

In Part 6 of FOX Sports Asia’s “Players to Watch” series for AFC Asian Cup 2019, we look closely at Nguyen Quang Hai, the outstanding prospect carrying the hopes of Vietnam.

2018 has been a year to remember for Vietnam having started with a remarkable run to the AFC U-23 Championship final, which was followed by a fourth-place finish at Asian Games 2018, before they capped off the year by winning the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Coach Park Hang-seo deserves plenty of credit for his work from the touchline but, on the field, one soared higher than the rest for the Golden Dragons.

Still only 21, Nguyen Quang Hai has truly emerged as one of the brightest prospects not just in Southeast Asia but across the whole continent.

The Ha Noi starlet has all the attributes to make a devastating attacker: impeccable technique, a bag full of tricks, blistering pace and a keen eye for goal, especially from long-range and dead-ball situations.

– Akram Afif (Qatar)
– Yuya Osako (Japan)
– Omar Al-Soma (Syria)
– Lee Jae-sung (Korea Republic)
Alireza Beiranvand (Iran)

Nonetheless, perhaps his one strength that has been the reason behind many tipping him for greatness is a maturity and understanding of the game beyond his tender years.

Throughout the recent Suzuki Cup, Quang Hai proved to be one for the big occasion but was also unafraid to take leadership, keeping the intensity for Vietnam with his tireless running but also knowing when to slow things down when the situation called for.

His winning displays have already seen him compared to two-time Suzuki Cup Most Valuable Player Chanathip Songkrasin, and it may only be a matter of time before Quang Hai joins the Thai in plying his trade at a higher level.