Two of our most talented players make the journey over to Shanghai to play in the AFL Asia Lions next weekend. Dang and Dinh Anh’s selection in the Asia Lions is a credit to their hard work and footy skills!

We sat down with the two to talk about their experience of Australian Rules Football (commonly known as AFL or ‘footy’) and what the upcoming trip to Shanghai means to them.

Dang and Dinh Anh Represent Vietnam AFL

Dang (left) and Dinh Anh (right)

Dang aka Dangsta

Doan Dang (Dang) has been playing for the club for several seasons. Lean and fast, he plays in defence and has really been working on his overhead marking this season.

Doan Dang

Dang, what does this trip mean to you, and what are you looking forward to about the trip to Shanghai?

I’m very proud to play footy in Shanghai representing the Việt Nam Swans.  

Playing for the Asia Lions makes me feel the strength of footy. We combine strangers from different countries into one team, encouraging each other, enjoying footy together, with great support from of clubs across Asia. This is a dream come true! This trip is a massive opportunity for me to learn more about footy, exchange culture and make friends with other footy players from countries around Asia. 

In this 3 day trip, i’d love to eat, breath and sleep in a unique footy atmosphere. Shanghai is one of the biggest city in the world, with a lot of interesting things to discover. Clean and modern, good food, beautiful sightseeing and nice weather in this season.

We’ll play hard, give it our best shot and make theViệt Nam Swans proud, as a thank for what the opportunity the Club gives us.

Dinh Anh aka Dino

Nguyen Anh Nguyen (Dinh Anh) has also been playing for the club for several seasons. He’s a mid-field player with a reputation for hard tackling and turnovers that lead the Swans to score.

Dinh Anh Vietnam Swans AFL

Dinh Anh, what does this trip mean to you, and what are you looking forward to about the trip to Shanghai?

Any local player around Asia hopes to be chosen to represent their country in the Asian Lions. It’s a huge opportunity for me to be selected to play footy in Shanghai. 

I was selected last year and it was a great atmosphere at the stadium in Shanghai. There was a huge audience. Most of the audience come from Australia, the motherland of footy. It’s an honour to play in front of so many people representing my country. 

Playing for the Asia Lions is a great experience, but it’s also amazing to see the professional players from the AFL. The players from the Port Power and Gold Coast Suns give us something to aim for: I can’t believe we get the chance to meet them and see them playing.

The Club’s Commitment to Local Development

Local development has been high on the agenda for the Vietnam Swans for several seasons. National President Eric “Kerro” Kerrison explains:

Our Vietnamese players have taken well to the game over the years. It gives them an avenue for developing a new set of skills, whilst also providing opportunities for them to travel, experience a different side of life, whilst representing their country and playing a great game. Our vision here at the Vietnam Swans is to send a full local team to Australia to compete in the International Cup, which gives our players, men and women, something to aim for. 

Of course, there are many benefits of involving local Vietnamese in our Club. When you decide to settle in a foreign land, there are certain things you miss about home, and being able to bring a little slice of it here through footy is great for a lot of us. By developing the local players and introducing them to the game, it ensures that the game will survive, long after the ex pat community have hung up the boots. 

This year we’ve also expanded our club to formally include a women’s team. It’s already taking off and several Vietnamese women are actively playing. See the recent interview with Chia Sabbatucci and Rosie Hoang, aired on VTC10:

Good luck to Dang and Dinh Anh for their trip to Shanghai!