“You can be successful enough.”
Winger Nguyen Van Toan (27, Seoul E-Land), the favorite pupil of manager Park Hang-seo (64), challenged the K-League. It is his determination to write his 안전놀이터success story by putting his own strengths first.
At the 2023 K-League winter field training media camp held at the International Hotel in Changwon City, Gyeongsangnam-do on the 14th, Ban Toan said, “I have loved K-pop since I was a child. I am happy to come to my favorite country,” he said. “I will make use of my strength, speed. If I play with confidence, I will be able to show my true value in the K-League 2.”
Van Toan is a winger for the Vietnamese national team. Growing up at the Vietnamese club Hoang Anh Gia Lai since childhood, he has been active as a one-club man for 15 years. It was not an easy decision to leave Vietnam with a long-running team and challenge the Korean stage.
Manager Park Hang-seo influenced the transfer. Bantoan said, “Director Park Hang-seo told me about the K-League. Then he received an offer from E-Land,” he said. “He said that the K-League would be very difficult. He advised me that if I live my life without losing confidence, I will succeed.”
I also talked to Truong and Nguyen Kong Phuong, who played in the K-League in the past. Truong, the No. 1 K-League from Vietnam, played for Gangwon FC and Incheon United in the past, and Kong Phuong played for Incheon. However, the two tasted failure, not being able to play in 10 games in total.
Bantoan, who commented, “It seems that the two and the club did not match,” said, “They said that the Korean league was very scary. He said that in order to be successful, you must have a strong mind. My strategy for success is to put speed and cleverness first.”
Van Toan scored 6 goals in 47 A-matches as a member of the Vietnamese national team. Breaking through the dribble using his quick feet is his masterpiece, and he is also active in defending. This is why Seoul E-Land coach Park Choong-kyun, who served as the Vietnam Hanoi FC command tower, chose him.
However, his small physique is considered a weakness. There are doubts about whether Bantoan, who is 1m69cm tall and weighs 59kg, will be able to adapt to the K-League, which is prone to rough physical fights. Bantoan said, “It is true that Korean players are bigger and stronger than me. I think he will have to respond with faster and smarter plays than the Korean players. I am studying the K-League,” he said. “I lived without changing my weight for 7 years. Bulk-up is not considered. If necessary, I will eat at least bulgogi to increase my weight.”
Director Park Choong-gyun also sent his faith. He said, “Banthoan is a player with unique characteristics and strengths. He is expected to be of great help to our team this season. He expressed his expectation, saying, “He is melting into the team faster than I thought, probably because he has lived with coach Park Hang-seo for a long time.”