Mongolia’s football is on the rise and Mongolian players are beginning to slowly make waves around the world. The international team gained an impressive array of significant confidence boosting wins in recent years, including the World Cup qualifiers after defeating Myanmar, Brunei and Kyrgyz Republic (and Yemen in the Asian Cup qualifiers).
One newly emerging player, arising from the Steppes, is Oyuntuya Oyunbold. The winger has recently made the move down from Mongolia to join HKPL newcomers, Sham Shui Po.
Football mad Oyubold has leapt at the chance to move abroad and further his game and personal growth. He hopes to develop more as a person and is the first Mongolian to play in Hong Kong.
Oyubold is a relative newcomer to Hong Kong and was happy to give his first impressions of the domestic football scene.
“I feel so happy to have this chance to play in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is very developed and I like all the great facilities in Hong Kong. I really want to develop my career in Hong Kong.”
Oyubold has enjoyed training so far and finds the sports facilities much more accessible than the ones in Mongolia.
“I am happy to join training. The sessions have been enjoyable so far and the training is different then the training in Mongolia. Sham Shui Po has been very kind and nice to me and I have learnt how to communicate much better now and many players call me by my name. I am more open and more authentic with others now.”
Quinnie Kwok, who works for an NGO called Heart of Mentoring (aka H.o.ME), as a Program Developer and English Teacher, made the move possible.
The NGO has a focus on mentoring young adults as they find their career pathway and vocation as they transition from youth shelters into the real world. Quinnie has strove hard to give Oyubold his chance to pursue his dreams as a professional footballer in Hong Kong. She said.
“My work is mentoring young adults in Mongolia and I have been mentoring him for two years. I know that he has always liked playing football. He has so far played professional football in Mongolia and he also played for the Mongolian national team and at U19 and U23 level. Thus, after working with him for more than two years, he is now more mature than two years ago so I thought it would be a good time for him to explore his career further.
I started reaching out to people that I know in Hong Kong to see if it was possible for him to do more intense training in Hong Kong. There was an opportunity via Sham Shui Po Football Club and it aligns with their aim of supporting young football players to achieve their football dreams and this perfectly matched our goals.
I sent the club his football videos and they think he’s actually quite talented. So then we started to think about this kind of development project and see if it is possible to make these things happen and here we are!”
Oyubold has now become part of the evolving wave of Mongolian players who now play overseas though does he see himself as a role model for others?
“I would like to show that Mongolian people can play football in Hong Kong and beyond. I hopefully can show Hong Kong people that Mongolians can play football to a high standard. This could mean more Mongolian players can have the chance to come to Hong Kong. I want to train more and push myself to achieve my dreams.”
Oyubold is part of a new generation of talented youths in Mongolia who are actively pursuing their football (and other) dreams though he states it is still quite hard as Mongolia is still developing socially and economically.
“It depends on the individual’s personality though at a young age, one can try and become a professional athlete though there are too many barriers for some players because there’s not much infrastructure and sometimes the sports and education system is not suitable.
From a young age growing up, the system is not fully supportive and there are too many challenges. A lot of Mongolians sometimes just want to play football in the streets or outside though sometimes there are not many facilities outside or even decent playgrounds.”
Professional football in Mongolia also has to take into account the extreme weather and the lack of suitable career path.
“I think it’s hard because one of the things I find difficult for Mongolian football players is that despite training most days, it is also very difficult for them to also find a normal job to subsidize their playing career. Mongolia has different training times every day and so it is hard to find a full-time or even part-time job.”
Dashdorj Erdenetsogt, who kindly acted as translator for the interview / Sham Shui Po and who has lived in Hong Kong for ten years, is delighted to see Mongolians play football abroad.
“I want to open a bigger road between Hong Kong and Mongolia in a football sense. It would be great if Mongolia and Hong Kong could develop their football skills together. This could really help to open doors for more Mongolians to play abroad.”
The final word falls to Oyubold, who knows there are still many challenges ahead for him, though he is ready to meet the obstacles full on.”
“I realize I am starting a new life and am so happy!”
Thank You also to Dashdorj Erdenetsogt for translating and to Quinnie Kwok
Heart of Mentoring – https://www.facebook.com/HeartOfMentoring