Asia’s second-tier continental competition - The AFC Cup 2017 - has commenced with teams from the five regions (West, ASEAN, South, Central & East zones) going all out to claim continental glory.
It is a given that a host of talented players will be eyeing a chance to project themselves into the limelight. In such a scenario, Goal picks out one youngster who really could make a mark in the competition - Do Duy Manh of Vietnamese side Hanoi T&T FC.
Claim to fame
Do Duy Manh, who was born in Hanoi, progressed through the youth ranks of Hanoi T&T FC and made quite a ripple on his debut for the first team at a tender age of 18. Duy Manh came on as a second half substitute and smashed home an equaliser in the V.League opener.
He cemented his spot in the starting eleven from there on and has not looked back at all. It was hardly surprising that he was named the V.League Young Player of the Year in 2015 after helping his club finish as runners up.
The midfielder was given his first International call up in March 2015 for a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC) game against Iraq. His performance in that game won him rave reviews and in no time, the youngster was being hailed as the brightest prospect in Vietnamese football.
The rapidly progressing midfielder also helped Vietnam’s U-23 team qualify for the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship. Though Vietnam lost out in the group stages, Do Duy Manh scored a goal in the opening game and was widely praised for his tenacious displays in midfield.
More importantly, he bounced back from that disappointing campaign by playing a key role in Hanoi T&T’s title win last season which helped them qualify for the AFC Champions League 2017 qualifying rounds where they lost and had to settle for a place in the AFC Cup.
What to expect?
Do Duy Manh stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall and is surprisingly a dogged customer in midfield. The central midfielder is very good on the ball and his boyish looks are a decoy. He flies into challenges when he loses the ball and is not afraid of pulling his weight against bigger players.
Also, he has an eye for a pass and is often seen making late runs into the box, looking to get on the end of any loose clearance. He has goals in his game and looks to be an exciting prospect.
The Cristiano Ronaldo fan will be one of Hanoi’s trump card as they look to negotiate through a very tough group that includes the likes of Tampines Rovers, Ceres Negros and Felda United.