Indonesian paper downgrades Vietnam's football to passing AFF Cup group stage

By Hoang An   April 4, 2024 | 05:54 am PT
Indonesian paper downgrades Vietnam's football to passing AFF Cup group stage
Vietnamese players disappointed after conceding a goal against Indonesia at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi in World Cup qualifiers on March 26, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong
Indonesia’s Okezone newspaper believes that many coaches want to become manager of Vietnam because the team have hit rock bottom and don't have any goal left this year but the AFF Cup group stage.

The Vietnam Football Federation are selecting a new manager for the national team, after parting ways with coach Philippe Troussier on March 26, following two defeats against Indonesia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Domestic and international media reported that many coaches have applied for the position.

Okezone, one of the most-read newspapers in Indonesia, pointed out why Vietnam received so much attention from coaches.

"The main reason is the future goal of the team, which is not difficult and will not put much pressure on the new coach. Please remember that Vietnam are third in the second round of World Cup qualifiers with four points behind Indonesia, so the chance of advancing for the team are slim," it added.

Vietnam, who made history by reaching the third 2022 World Cup qualification round, still have two more games in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, against Philippines and Iraq in June. Even if they win these two games, the team will be eliminated if Indonesia win against Philippines or Iraq. Therefore, the new coach will not be under pressure to take the team past the second qualifying round but instead aim for the AFF Cup later this year.

The AFF Cup will be renamed as the ASEAN Cup from the next edition and is scheduled to take place in November and December.

The competition format remains the same, with 10 teams divided into two groups of five. The top four teams of each group will advance to the semifinals.

"Vietnam's new coach just need to bring the team past the AFF Cup group stage," the Indonesian newspaper added.

"That result is enough to be considered successful. Other goals will be adjusted depending on the ability of the team and situations."

According to FIFA rankings, Vietnam are second in Southeast Asia, after Thailand. The team have also passed the AFF Cup group stage in all five recent editions, winning in the title in 2008 and 2018, while Indonesia have lost all six finals.

But Shin Tae-yong's team are making progress thanks to naturalized players, so they are expected to overthrow Thailand in the next tournament.

The problem is whether Indonesia can call up enough naturalized players for the 2024 AFF Cup, when the tournament is not on the FIFA calendar and clubs can refuse to release these players.

There were coaches who have expressed their interest in managing Vietnam, such as former Thailand national coaches Mano Polking and Kiatisuk Senamuang.

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