HAGL president: 'I will buy any good Thai players’
HAGL president shocked when he announced the recruitment of the biggest stars in Thailand for the HAGL club, when they were still an anonymous team in the mountains and forests of the Central Highlands.
In 2001, at that time, the HAGL Club was just an anonymous team playing in the First Division, just taking over from the Gia Lai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Immediately, Duc has turned a small team in the Central Highlands mountains into a true big man in Vietnam. The first shot was a contract with former player Kiatisak, the top player in Southeast Asia at the time.
The "living monument" of Thai football moved to play for a club in the first division of Vietnam was probably just a dream, but Duc did it. Not only in terms of finance or bonuses, it was the determination of the president that made Kiatisak agree.
This is considered one of the most successful signings of Vietnamese football. Kiatisuk helped the HAGL team get promoted at that season. At the end of the season, the team was officially transferred to HAGL Group for management, renamed HAGL Football Club, and became one of the first professional football clubs in Vietnam.
The contract with Kiatisak opened the way to HAGL for other Thai players such as Dusit, Tawan, Sakda, Thonglao ... They were all top stars of Thai football at that time.
Bau Duc said: “Thai football can win against Vietnam, but if you wait for talents of HAGL-JMG Academy to come out, everything will be different. In the future, I will buy any good Thai player.”
Indeed, the president of the HAGL club can do any thing he promised. In the following years, the club built a team like "Dream Team", after Thai players such as Dusit Chalermsan, Chukiat Noosarung joined the army to form the backbone of the team.
Duc added to this framework a squad of all Vietnamese players by contracts with goalkeeper Vo Van Hanh, defenders Nguyen Manh Dung, Nguyen Phi Hung, Trinh Duy Quang, Luong Trung Tuan, midfielders Le Quoc Vuong, Nguyen Van Dan, Nguyen Huu Dang, strikers Van Si Hung, Nguyen Viet Thang, Nguyen Minh Hai, Ngo Quang Truong.
With the above line-up, the club set the feat of winning the 2003 V-League championship after having just promoted and successfully defended its title the following season. At the same time the team also won two National Super Cups in those years.