Hai dominated the votes on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website by scoring 60.01 percent, followed by Jordan’s Hasan Abdel-Fattah (21.76 percent) and Malaysia’s Safiq Rahim (11.04 percent). Both Hai and Abdel-Fattah will be included in AFC Cup’s all-time XI.
Previously, AFC chose 12 midfielders for the vote based on versatility, flair and outstanding individual quality.
Throughout Hanoi FC’s run at 2019 AFC Cup, the 22-year-old played an important role by producing consistent goals and assists, including two stunners in the inter-zone play-off semi-final against Turkmen side Altyn Asyr. Hanoi later lost to North Korean club 4.25 SC in the play-off final.
AFC praised Hai’s performance in AFC Cup 2019, calling it “simply devastating.” In 2021, he will return to AFC Cup with Hanoi. The capital club has been grouped in group G with Indonesia’s Bali United, Cambodia’s Boeung Ket and a play-off winner.
In November last year, Hai’s free-kick in the game with Altyn Asyr was named among the four best AFC Cup goals ever. It was also voted the best free-kick in AFC Cup history by fans in June.
This year, the AFC Cup group stage has been expanded by three teams to 39 with a new Central Asia Zone group. The first and second-placed teams of each group would advance to the next round.
The champions will be awarded a spot in the preliminary stage of 2022 AFC Champions League.