Former Vietnam coach Park among applicants for Indian job

By Hieu Luong   June 27, 2024 | 06:18 pm PT
Coach Park Hang-seo has submitted his application to become the head coach of the Indian national team after they parted ways with coach Igor Stimac for failing to advance to the 2026 World Cup third qualifiers.

Park's application is among 214 submissions received by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). This number is expected to rise until the deadline on July 3. "We are not looking at any of the applications till the deadline," an AIFF official told the Times of India.

HLV Park Hang-seo khi còn dẫn dắt Việt Nam. Ảnh: Đức Đồng

Park Hang-seo as coach of Vietnam's national team. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

The newspaper also reported that the AIFF might consider Park's case more closely given his successful tenure in Vietnam from 2017 to 2023, which includes finishing second in the AFC U23 Championship and winning the AFF Cup in 2018, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2019 Asian Cup, advancing to the 2022 World Cup third qualifiers, and winning two gold medals in the 30th and 31st SEA Games.

Additionally, Vietnam under Park were able to maintain their position in the top 100 of the FIFA rankings and were ranked higher than any Southeast Asian teams.

"Park is a hero in Vietnam, and his interest in Indian football is a good sign," said another AIFF official. "His record against much higher-ranked countries is enviable, and he managed to do all this with thrilling, counter-attacking football."

Under Park, Vietnam once beat India 3-0 in a friendly in September 2022.

The South Korean coach parted ways with Vietnam after his contract ended in January 2023, stating he would not return to the job.

Since then, he has not taken up any coaching positions, despite his frequent links with national teams in the region, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, or Thailand. Park was once on the shortlist for interim coach after South Korea dismissed Jurgen Klinsmann following their unsuccessful 2023 Asian Cup campaign. However, South Korea later appointed coach Hwang Sun-hong.

Park is currently running a football academy in Vietnam and serves as an advisor for the second-division club Bac Ninh.

However, the AIFF will not be able to meet Park’s previous monthly salary of $50,000 when he was in charge of Vietnam. India’s most recent head coach Igor Stimac earned $30,000 per month, but this was after raises following five years of service.

"The coach has to be efficient, plan much in advance and make the best use of the available resources and deliver within the budget," claimed the AIFF.

In its advertisement, the AIFF expects candidates to have a minimum of 10 to 15 years of experience leading youth and national teams. Experience coaching national teams is preferred, and participation in World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup is an advantage.

HLV Igor Stimac dẫn dắt Ấn Độ ở Asian Cup 2023. Ảnh: Reuters

Coach Igor Stimac manages India at Asian Cup 2023. Photo by Reuters

India currently hold the 124th position in the FIFA rankings. Football is not very popular in the world’s most populous country, where cricket is the most loved sport. In addition, the AIFF’s financial resources are limited, and it is being threatened with a lawsuit by former coach Igor Stimac for unilaterally terminating his contract without fully settling expenses.

The Croatian coach also revealed that the AIFF failed to meet the necessary conditions for the national team. In the 2026 World Cup second qualifiers, India had to transit and endure a 30-hour continuous journey from Saudi Arabia to India despite the previous promise of a private jet, while their opponents Afghanistan arrived early and had more time to rest. Moreover, they did not have GPS devices, typically worn by players to measure their performance during training and matches.

"We did not have GPS for 200 days despite repeatedly urging," Stimac said. "India were the only team at the 2023 Asian Cup without GPS."

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