Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam convincingly booked their place at January’s Finals in India following straight Group B victories against the Maldives (16-0) and Tajikistan (7-0), with Hai Yen contributing eight of the total 23 goals, making her top scorer as of September 29.
Talking about the 26-year-old forward, the AFC article emphasised: “The pandemic had played a key role in her inability to score at internationals for almost two years prior, but Pham Hai Yen more than made up for it in Dushanbe, producing a barely believable return of two games, 135 minutes, eight goals.”
“A half-time substitute in Vietnam’s record 16-0 win over the Maldives, she helped herself to a remarkable six goals in 33 minutes before adding two more against Tajikistan as Mai Duc Chung’s side sealed qualification.”
Hai Yen celebrates after scoring a goal. (Photo: AFC)
“Long considered a lethal finisher at both domestic and regional level, Hai Yen will be looking to make her mark on the highest continental stage, and perhaps lead the ever-improving Vietnam side to a first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup,” the article went on.
Together with Hai Yen, five other prominent players were also honoured by the AFC, namely Moon Mi-ra (Republic of Korea), Janista Jinantuy (Thailand), Zahra Muzdalifah (Indonesia), Behnaz Taherkhani (Iran) and Chandler McDaniel (Philippines).
Vietnam are among the first 10 teams to qualify for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, alongside four teams who automatically qualified – India (the hosts), Japan (2018 champions), Australia (2018 runners-up) and China (2018 third place); and five qualifying from the freshly concluded September 17-29 tournament – Indonesia (Group C winners), the Republic of Korea (Group E winners), the Philippines (Group F winners), Iran (Group G winners) and Thailand (Group H winners).
The remaining two qualifiers will be determined later as the Group A and Group D campaigns take place between October 18-24.