Against all odds, Kaduna-born striker Samson Olaleye, also known as Hoang Vu Samson, returned from an uneventful spell in Thailand to be crowned champion of Vietnam again, IKENWA NNABUOGOR checks him out..
It will take something extra for another foreigner to smash Samson Olaleye’s amazing bag of records in Vietnam and the Kaduna-born goal machine is not ready to slow down.
Such is the feat that the Vietnamese citizen only returned mid-way into the season after a fruitless adventure in Thailand for top side Buriram United to burst the top scorer’s chart as well as win the league title.
“Huang Vu” crossed the border to Thailand in a move that left thousands of his club T&T Hanoi’s loyal fans crying, but he put the smiles back on their faces three months later when things did not go as planned to quickly get among the goals despite waiting for eight games before he could start playing again in June.
Having only to play in the FA Cup on his return while waiting to be eligible for league action, Samson, true to type, announced his return with a mouth-watering brace in T&T Hanoi’s 4-1 home victory against Than Quang Ninh.
His much awaited return while coming on as a substitute was greeted with a standing ovation from the fans who thronged their home stadium in their teeming numbers to see their most prized come-backing striker. He didn’t disappoint though!
While he was away in Thailand, his compatriot – former Eaglets’ striker Ganiyu Oseni – continued to get the goals for his side as the multiple Vietnamese league champions maintained a wide gulf between them and the second placed side, FLC Thanh Hoa.
They have now been crowned league champion with by a clear 21 points gap with a game.
The champions wrapped up the season when they lost 1-0 at Hai Phong to win the league title for the fourth time in eight years.
One of the highlights of Samson’s glorious return was netting his 100th goal for his side.
The feat was achieved against Hoh Chin Minh City FC in their 6-3 victory with Samson netting four goals after replacing Oseni in the 53rd minute. Samson was only playing his sixth game for his side since his return.
Olaleye continued scoring for fun and ended the season by netting 15 goals in 14 league games, two shy of Oseni, who would win the top scorer award for the first time in his sojourn in Vietnam.
Interestingly, it would be recalled that Olaleye returned from Sporting Braga in Portugal on loan from Atletico Madrid after a contractual disagreement involving T&T Hanoi and Atletico Madrid and his former club Dong Thap to score his way to a league title runners-up in 2011.
To T&T Hanoi fans, Samson can do any wrong as he has continued to demonstrate time and time again he can deliver the goodies for the biggest club in the land.
Oseni continued his delightful scoring form in his absence, but the fans refused to put Samson Olaleye out of their memories and continued to pray he retraced his steps.
They believed with him back in the fold, the league title was just a matter of time before it would be added to their loaded cabinet.
Having only been founded in 2010, T&T Hanoi have added four league titles in their honours list as well as finishing second best four times in their eight-year history.
Indeed, Samson Olaleye arrived in Vietnam with a bagful of goals in 2008 and with the league’s curtains drawn, he has netted 169 times in 161 league appearances.
Perhaps, the next level to his scoring boots along may be the Vietnam national team after all he holds a passport of that country.