Vietnam women's football team give coach retirement gift

By Minh Khang   November 2, 2023 | 05:38 am PT
Vietnam's national women's football squad signed a souvenir jersey and gifted it to their head coach Mai Duc Chung in a teary-eyed parting moment before his retirement this week.
Coach Mai Duc Chung takes a photo with the souvenir jersey and members of Vietnam national womens football team. Photo courtesy of Mai Duc Chung

Coach Mai Duc Chung (5th, L) takes a photo with the souvenir jersey and members of Vietnam national women's football team, Nov. 1. 2023. Photo courtesy of Mai Duc Chung

The team’s Olympic qualifying game against Japan on Wednesday was Chung’s last game as head coach. After the match, team captain Huynh Nhu gave him the jersey on behalf of the national team.

Emotions ran high as players gave their beloved gaffer humble and heartwarming praise.

Nhu, who is playing for Portugese club Lank, recalled the day that she was called up to the national team for the first time, only to be quickly sent back. Coach Chung told her she needed to try harder. She said that was the motivation for her to redouble her efforts and return to the team.

"I learned a lot during my time working with you," Nhu told her head coach. "You are a loving and humble teacher with a warm heart. I wish you nothing but the best."

Goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh remembered the first time she started for the national team at the 2020 Olympic Tokyo qualifiers in April 2019. Thanks to the chance that Chung gave her, Thanh proved her talent and became the number one female goalie in Vietnamese football.

"What you have done for Vietnamese football is highly appreciated, especially when you took Vietnam to Women’s World Cup for the first time ever, which is a remarkable achievement. I wish you health and happiness with your family," Thanh said.

On Wednesday night, Vietnam lost 0-2 to Japan in the final game of the 2024 Paris Olympics second qualifying round. Thus, the team could not advance as they only placed third in group C behind Japan and Uzbekistan.

Chung’s contract expires at the end of the year, making that his last match with his squad.

Chung coached the national women’s football team for the first time in 2003. He led the team to six SEA Games gold medals, four of which were consecutive from 2017 to 2023. He also helped the team win the 2019 AFF Cup, place fourth at the 2014 Asian Games, and qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

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