Football

Vas Nuñez, a Mexican soccer player living in China and facing Coronavirus threat

Vasudeva Lilley Nuñez was born in Hong Kong in 1995. His dad is British and his mom is Mexican. He is currently playing in the local Premier League with the R&F but lives in Guangzhou, China.

Vas Nuñez, a Mexican soccer player living in China and facing Coronavirus threat

Vasudeva Lilley Nuñez (1995, Hong Kong) is very proud of having Mexican blood but he has only visited his mother’s home country once. He was very little when he went to Valle de Bravo in Mexico, where his grandparents currently live.

When people ask me where I am from, I always say I am Mexican. Right now I am learning Spanish but it is very hard because in this country they only speak English or Cantonese. At some point I want to return to Mexico to visit my family and just spend some time there. I might try to go this summer to get in contact with my culture,” he said during an interview with AS from Hong Kong, that is 131 kilometers from Guangzhou, China, where his apartment is located but he had to leave due to the Coronavirus threat.

Vas is a center back playing for R&F in Guangzhou, the only Premier League team that is not from that region. Currently the team is in first place after playing 9 games and obtaining a total of 22 points.

Due to the Coronavirus threat the Premier League has been suspended because at the time that this article was published, 361 people have died and more than 17 thousand have been infected in 24 countries. In theory the Premier League is expected to continue in March if everything improves by then.

Vas lives in Guangzhou with his Swedish girlfriend, who had to return to her country when the virus was approaching the province of Wuhan. Vas had to leave China and is currently in Hong Kong, where the team will continue to practice until the league resumes.

“When the broke out we knew it was going to be something serious. At first only a few people got infected by the Coronavirus but then people started dying and it expanded to other countries so my girlfriend returned to Sweden with her family to be safe. I am in Hong Kong where it is a little bit safer. It is a difficult situation because some of my foreign teammates are still in Guangzhou. Even though they are still there, I believe that they are safe.”

His mother returned to Mexico a few days ago and his dad has been living in England for some time now. “Everyone is worried but our team tells us what to do to be safe and so far they have done a great job. We have a lot of rules that we need to follow now but it is for our own safety and we try to stay away from places where there are a lot of people. Also we try not to see each other that much so while we do as they say everything will be fine,” answered Vas to AS about his current life being affected by the virus.

Hong Kong has shut down all the public transportation, closed down the parks, malls and stadiums as precaution. That is why R&F will try to keep in shape playing soccer games in closed stadiums and just follow step by step the practice schedules. “We can only keep working hard, think about winning the league because we are at the top right now. At the end I think everything will be ok, I truly believe it.”

Immigration problem

In 2018 there was a mistake made when Vas was getting his Hong Kong passport and he couldn’t become a British citizen. The United Kingdom gave him the wrong form and for a moment his status was uncertain. This situation complicated his contract renewal with R&F because he could not access China legally.

“I had to talk to the media to put pressure on the embassy and at the end they fixed their mistake. They contacted me and fixed everything. At the end I obtained my Hong Kong passport. The Mexican embassy acknowledges the situation and they have always treated me well, I know the people who work there for 20 years now.”

Vas has already played with the U23 and wants to make it to Hong Kong’s national team one day. His short term goal is to help his country qualify for the next World Cup. Hong Kong is in the group C alongside Iraq, Bahrein, Iran and Cambodia, currently they have a total of 5 points and made it to the second round.

His main goal is to make it to the English Premier League and at some point play in a team of the Liga MX, “I would love too, I don’t know much about the teams in the Mexican championship but I have watched Tigres played before.”