16 June 2010
Legendary goalkeeper: Pham Van Rang
Pham Van Rang (1934-2008) was the best Vietnamese goalkeeper in history and undoubtedly one of best talents that Vietnamese football has ever produced. In 1966, he was a member of All Stars Team of Asia and played brilliantly to help his team beat Chelsea 2-1 in a friendly in Malaysia.
Pham Van Rang was born in Tien Giang, a province in southern part of Vietnam, in 1934. When 17 years old, he started his career as a goalkeeper of Ngoi Sao Ba Chieu and soon became famous for his talent. In 1953, he joined Thanh Nien and later Tong Tham Muu, two of best clubs in South Vietnam at that time. The 19-year-old goalkeeper became the first choice of South Vietnam national team in the same year.
In 1959, Pham Van Rang played the friendly game between South Vietnam and Swedish champions Djurgarden. The game featured a lot of Swedish stars who played the World Cup 1958 final and their attack made huge pressure on Vietnamese defense line. However, Pham Vang Rang made some unbelievable saves to help South Vietnam win 2-1.
In the same year of 1959, he achieved his first international title when South Vietnam won SEAP Games in Bangkok (Thailand). Pham Van Rang was considered of best Asian goalkeepers during his time.
In 1966, the 31-year-old goalkeeper was invited to play for All Stars Team of Asia, which was led by Hong Kong coach Ly Hue Duong and Peter Velappan. In the Chelsea game, he played so well that he earned a lot of credits from Asian media and labeled as main reason for the surprising victory.
After retiring, he worked as coach of some football clubs in southern part of Vietnam. In 1995, he returned to Sai Gon, living at Tao Dan Stadium until he died in 2008.