Former Thailand national coach Polking to manage Vietnamese club

By Lam Thoa   December 25, 2023 | 09:04 pm PT
Former Thailand national coach Polking to manage Vietnamese club
Mano Polking as the head coach of HCMC FC in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Mano Polking, former head coach of Thailand national football, will take over Vietnamese club Cong An Ha Noi (CAHN), replacing South Korean coach Gong Oh-kyun next month.

CAHN informed their players about the change in coaching staff on Monday. Tran Tien Dai will be the interim manager of the team for the V. League game against Becamex Binh Duong on Tuesday. After that, the head coach position will be assigned to Polking.

The former Thailand national coach is expected to sign a contract with CAHN on Jan. 5. The club contacted Polking to replace Gong right after the defeat against Khanh Hoa FC on Dec. 22, their four consecutive losses under Gong, but the German-Brazilian coach wanted to finish his family vacation, so his introduction was pushed back.

CAHN negotiated with coach Polking and reached an initial agreement in April. However, he was later convinced by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) to stay and coach the team at the 2024 Asian Cup. CAHN let technical director Dai take charge as an interim manager, then signed a contract with coach Gong in mid-November.

Not long after that, Polking was sacked by FAT after Thailand lost 1-2 against China in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

After playing Binh Duong, CAHN will take nearly two months off when the V. League pauses for the national team to compete in the 2024 Asian Cup. Polking will thus have plenty of time to get acquainted before making his debut in the club's match against HCMC FC on Feb. 18.

CAHN is expected to terminate their contract with coach Gong this weekend.

Coach Gong's contract is one year with an option to extend for another year. If CAHN terminate the contract, they will have to pay compensation.

CAHN are currently eighth in the V. League table this season with nine points, seven behind the top spot Nam Dinh FC.

Polking, 47, was an assistant coach to Thailand from 2012 to 2013, then coached Thai League clubs like Army United, Suphanburi and Bangkok United. In 2020 he became the head coach of HCMC, but left the club when the league was canceled due to Covid-19.

After parting ways with HCMC, Polking was appointed head coach of Thailand on a four-month contract. After Thailand won the 2020 AFF Cup, the deal was extended.

At the SEA Games last year, he took the U23 Thailand team to the final but lost 1-0 to hosts Vietnam. He successfully defended the AFF Cup title with Thailand earlier this year, defeating Vietnam in the final.

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