Vietnam football coach under AFF Cup pressure

By Lam Thoa   October 28, 2018 | 11:42 pm PT
Vietnam football coach under AFF Cup pressure
Head coach Park Hang-seo directs players during a match at Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Vietnamese men’s football coach says he’s been tasked with getting the team to the final of AFF Cup 2018.

The specific target given to head coach Park Hang-seo when he was hired was to enable the national team to get to the finals of the ASEAN Football Federation Cup (AFF Cup) 2018, which will take place from November 8 to December 15.

“The first thing that Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) mentioned when they signed a deal with me was AFF Cup 2018, so I am under pressure at the moment,” Park said.

After signing the contract to coach Vietnam national football team on October 11, 2017, Park has led the team to historic highs.

The U23 team finished runner up at 2018 AFC championship in January and was a semi-finalist at the Asian Games in August.

Expectations are high, with fans hoping “Miracle Park” will help Vietnam take the AFF Cup home after 10 years of waiting.

“I’m a little bit nervous as I don’t have much experience with Southeast Asia football. This is the first time I am leading a team in the AFF Cup. I’m under pressure but I’m ready to accept this challenge,” Park added.

A VFF official told VnExpress that when they signed a deal with head coach Park, there were three tournaments that the team needed to focus on: Asian Games, AFF Cup and Asian Cup, in which the AFF Cup was the top priority. The contract also says that if Vietnam achieves a good result at the AFF Cup, Park will receive a bonus.

To prepare for AFF Cup 2018, Vietnam’s national football team has been trained in South Korea. They have played two exhibition matches, losing 1-2 to Incheon FC and winning 2-1 against Seoul FC.

Park said the results of these matches are not too important, the important thing is he finds out the most suitable line up for the team.

Thirty players went to South Korea. Park will only reveal the official squad of 23 players for the AFF Cup on November 7, one day before the tournament kicks off.

For the AFF Cup 2018, Vietnam is in group A. The team will play their first match with Laos away on November 8, then Malaysia at home on November 16, Myanmar away on November 20 and Cambodia at home on November 24.

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