Coach Park Hang-seo to lead both national and youth teams this year

By Hoang Nguyen   March 6, 2019 | 05:37 pm PT
Coach Park Hang-seo to lead both national and youth teams this year
Coach Park Hang-seo will lead two Vietnamese football teams for major games in November. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
After asking to focus solely on the national men’s football team, coach Park Hang-seo has changed his mind.

In February, Park had expressed his desire to focus on coaching the national team for the 2022 World Cup qualification and leave the U22 team to be managed by his assistant Lee Young-jin at SEA Games 30, with both tournaments taking place in November.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) had accepted the recommendation for reducing Park’s workload.

But Park has changed his decision. He will now lead the national team to play the 2022 World Cup qualification as well as the U22 team to compete in SEA Games 30 this November.

"Acknowledging the importance of both 2022 World Cup qualification and SEA Games 30 to Vietnam, Park has decided to take on the responsibility of leading both the national and U22 sides playing in these tournaments," a VFF representative told VnExpress.

Lee Dong-jun, Park’s agent, also spoke about the coach’s decision.

"We have talked a lot about Park’s work in 2019. He will be extremely busy having to coach both 2022 World Cup qualification and SEA Games 30 the same month. But he has accepted it because he knows Vietnamese fans take SEA Games very seriously and he doesn’t want to be seen as avoiding the responsibility," Lee said.

Park has also requested for more human resources. He wants fellow South Korean Lee Tae-hoon, currently the technical director of Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC, and another South Korean colleague to be his assistants. He has also asked for more physical-training experts and doctors to work with him.

"VFF supports Park fully and will fulfill all of his requests," a VFF representative said.

With Park’s new decision, Lee Young-jin will continue to be his leading assistant coach.

The federation has three main 2019 targets for Vietnamese football: qualify for AFC U23 2020 and World Cup 2022; and win gold at SEA Games 30.

Vietnam will play its first game of the U23 AFC Championship qualification round on March 22 against Brunei in group K. They will play Indonesia on March 24 and Thailand two days later. Park has set the goal of topping group K, thus qualifying for the tournament that will take place in 2020.

Under Park's lead, Vietnam's football has gained continuous successes last year: finishing second at the U23 AFC Championship, entering the quarterfinals of Asian Games, the world's second biggest multiple sporting event after the Olympics, for the first time, and winning the ASEAN Football Federation Championship.

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