Vietnam football coach named Person of Year in South Korea

By Nguyen Quy   December 13, 2018 | 08:34 pm PT
Vietnam football coach named Person of Year in South Korea
Park Hang-seo, head coach of Vietnam's national U23 football team, kicks the ball during a practice session for the AFF Cup. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Park Hang-seo, the coach and mastermind behind Vietnam's recent success in men’s football, is among 12 “Persons of the Year” in South Korea.

The Journalists Association of Korea Wednesday announced the list of winners of the annual award, which honors individuals for outstanding achievements and great contributions that bring pride to South Koreans.

Park has been honored for his contributions to Vietnamese football.

He became the head coach of the men’s national and U23 football teams in November last year, and the latter became runners up at the Asian U23 Championship for the first time in January.

The Olympic team, mostly comprising players from the U23 team, qualified for the semi-finals of the 2018 Asian Games for the first time in history. They finished fourth.

His "Person of the Year" award came just days ahead of the second leg of the AFF Cup final between Vietnam and Malaysia, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

In the first leg last Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam and Malaysia drew 2-2.

Vietnam had beaten the Philippines by an identical 2-1 score in both legs of the semifinal.

Park, 59, played for the Korean national team before starting his professional coaching career in 1989.

He was an assistant to Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who led Korea to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup and the U23 team to a bronze medal at the Asian Games the same year.

A documentary, "Park Hang-seo - Nguoi truyen lua (The Inspirer)," which features memorable moments from the pitch, fans’ love for the team, interviews with the coach, and his personal life, hits cinemas Friday.

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