Vietnam football coach could go missing at AFF Cup

By Hoang Nguyen   April 3, 2020 | 06:16 pm PT
Vietnam football coach could go missing at AFF Cup
Coach Park Hang-seo during the AFC U23 Championship final group stage game of Vietnam against North Korea on January 16, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Vietnam’s successful Korean coach, Park Hang-seo, could be suspended for several matches during the AFF Cup for an offense last year.

In February the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decided to fine him $5,000 and suspend him for four games for "overreaction" with the referee in the SEA Games finals.

While Park can continue to manage the team during official tournaments like the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, he has to sit out friendlies and tournaments not run by FIFA.

The AFF Cup is one such tournament, and if Park cannot complete the penalty before the event kicks off on November 23, Vietnam will probably have to play a few matches without their coach on the sidelines. They are the reigning champions.

The penalty did not seem to be a big deal earlier since the national team can just play four exhibition matches before the tournament starts. But the global Covid-19 pandemic has made friendlies a luxury for the foreseeable future.

Vietnam had a friendly lined up against Iraq on March 26 but they withdraw since they did not want to visit a Southeast Asian country amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Golden Dragons decided to play Kyrgyzstan instead, but the situation worsened in Vietnam, and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) canceled the match.

Park and his players will have to wait until June to play their first friendly.

The VFF have time until October to arrange three more friendlies for Park to complete his penalty.

The penalty was slapped after, in the Sea Games final between Vietnam and Indonesia, Park stepped onto the field and argued with the officials about a foul against one of his players, Nguyen Trong Hoang, who he claimed was pushed down by Osvaldo Haay. Instead of showing Haay the yellow card, referee Majed Al-Shamrani gave Indonesia a throw-in.

Al-Shamrani decided to send Park off for overreacting only for him to return seconds later to argue with the assistant referees and received a red card. AFC called his behavior "inappropriate."

Vietnam went on to win the match 3-0 and their first ever gold medal in SEA Games football.

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