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Coach Park Hang-seo to lead Vietnam’s U22 football team

Coach Park Hang-seo. Photo: VNA
Park Hang-seo will lead Vietnam's U22 football team at the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 30) in the Philippines.

Previously, the Korean coach asked the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) to allow him to only manage the senior team. The VFF then tapped Park’s assistant Lee Young-jin to lead the youngsters.

However, after meeting with Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, Park changed his mind, reportedly after gaining a better understanding of the importance of the SEA Games to Vietnam.

Thien recognised Vietnam’s achievements in 2018 and emphasised the nation’s target of a gold medal at the SEA Games.

Park agreed to lead the team but asked for strong support from the VFF.

The coach said he needed at least five weeks to prepare the team as well as more assistants to help him.

He said the VFF must improve three matters - healthcare staff, nutrition for players and technical assistants - that were not good in 2018.

He promised if these proposals were met he would bring home the SEA Games trophy.

Responding to Park, VFF President Le Khanh Hai confirmed the VFF would immediately work on Park’s requests.

"VFF is seeking a fitness coach for the team after Willander Fonseca quit. We expect to welcome an expert from the Republic of Korea. We cannot announce his name now but he is experienced because he worked for Korean teams and clubs," said VFF General Secretary Le Hoai Anh.

Park earlier this week called 37 players to train for the 2020 Asian U23 Championship qualifier in Hanoi. Many of them played for the U20 team that competed at the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup, as well as U23 and national teams, such as Nguyen Quang Hai, Tran Dinh Trong, Doan Van Hau, Ha Duc Chinh and Nguyen Tien Linh.

The VFF said with many U22 players summoned, coach Park Hang-seo aims to not only improve the team’s strength ahead of the qualifiers but also prepare for future events, including SEA Games 30 in the Philippines this November.

As hosts of Group K, Vietnam will play Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand from March 22-26.