Vietnam ‘Can’t Get Over Park Hang-seo’, Considers Appointing South Korean

Vietnam’s national soccer team is looking for a new coach, and it looks like the South Korean coach will be the next to go.

“Kim Do-hoon and Kim Sang-sik are the two coaches who have applied for the position of head coach of the Vietnam national team,” Vietnamese media outlet Top Chi Dien Tat Chi Tuc reported on March 30 (KST).

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) announced on the federation’s official website on March 26 that “the federation and Vietnam coach Philippe Trusier have agreed to terminate his contract on March 26, 2024.”

After Park Hang-seo, who led Vietnam to its soccer heyday, stepped down as national team coach in January 2023, Vietnam appointed Frenchman Trousier as his successor. Trousier was previously in charge of Japan at the 2002 World Cup in Korea, where he led the team to the round of 16.

Tru Xie was tasked by Vietnam to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America. With the number of spots allocated to Asia increasing from 4.5 to 8.5, as well as the number of teams in the tournament from 32 to 48, there was hope that Vietnam could qualify for the World Cup.

However, Tru Xie has failed to fill the void left by Park Hang-seo. After a promising start, winning all three of his first A matches in charge of the Vietnamese national team, he has since gone on to a disastrous 1-9-1 record in 10 matches. This included a 0-6 loss to South Korea in October last year.

After packing up early from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar in January, losing all three of their group matches, Vietnam lost their last seven matches in a row, including the third and fourth round Group F matches against Indonesia in March in the second qualifying round for the North and Central American World Cup Asia in North America.

As the losses continued to diminish their chances of qualifying for the final round of World Cup Asia, the VFF drew the knife, forcing Tru Xie to step down as head coach just one year after being appointed.

With no points against Indonesia, Vietnam now sits in third place in Group F with three points (1-3-3). In first place is Iraq, which has won all four of its matches, followed by Indonesia with 7 points (2 W, 1 D, 1 L). With just two matches remaining until the end of the second round of qualifying, only the top two teams from each group will advance to the final round.

Vietnam will need to win both games of the Philippines-Iraq two-game series to keep their hopes of qualifying for the final World Cup alive. With the team in desperate need of a new coach to lead them to victory in the two-game series in June, it was reported that the South Korean coach has applied for the Vietnam job.

“According to confirmation, two agencies have sent the VFF the resumes of two Korean coaches, one of whom is Kim Sang-sik and the other is Kim Do-hoon,” the media outlet said.

“Agencies and representatives will continue to send more profiles of Korean candidates, but the VFF is not working with anyone so far.” “Vietnam recently appointed Hoang Anh Tuan as interim head coach. With more than two months to go until the next A-Match, the VFF is in no rush.”

A defensive midfielder and center back for Seongnam Ilhwa (now Seongnam FC) and Jeonbuk Hyundai during his playing days, Kim Sang-sik began his second life as a coach for Jeonbuk in 2013 after retiring from active duty.

Taking over the reins at Jeonbuk in the 2021 season after the departure of Jaeho Morais, Kim won the K League 1 title in his debut season and reached the top of the FA Cup (now the Korea Cup) the following year in 2022. They also reached the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL).

After two seasons of trophy success, Kim Sang-sik, who was widely criticized for his up-and-down performances, resigned at the start of the 2023 season after the club’s record of three wins, two draws, and six losses in 11 games dropped to 10th place in the league out of 12 teams.

Kim has been on sabbatical since August 2022, when he terminated his contract with Singapore’s Ryan City Sellers.

After leading Ulsan HD to the ACL title in 2020 and earning recognition for his leadership in May 2021, Kim Do-hoon took over at Ryan City in May 2021, and in his first season in charge, he led the club to the top of the league, giving them their first title in 18 years.

In the 2022 season, the team was on a roll, leading the league with 13 wins, three draws, and three losses in 19 matches in the first half of the season, but in July 2022, during the 17th round of the league against Tampa Bay Rovers, Kim sparked controversy when he clashed with the opposing coach.

In the 43rd minute of the second half, near the touchline, Kim argued with Tampa City forward Boris Kopitovic over possession of the ball, which led to a clash between the coaching staffs of both teams.

Kim and Tampa Bay coach Fahruddin Mustafaq went head-to-head, with Mustafaq overreacting and falling to the ground holding his head. Coach Kim strongly denied it by throwing up his hands, but was warned by the referees.

After the incident, the Singapore Football Association announced that “both teams will be fined S$5,000 (approx. $475), coach Mustafic will pay a fine of S$3,000 (approx. $2,850), and coach Kim Do-hoon will be suspended for three matches and fined S$2,000 (approx. $1,900) for his violent behavior during the match.”

After the disciplinary action was announced, Ryan City decided to part ways with Kim, who was contracted until December 2023, and terminated his contract.

Both Kim Sang-sik and Kim Do-hoon have been taking a break from the team since their departure, and it has been reported that both have sent in their applications to take over as head coach of the Vietnam national soccer team.

“The VFF is prioritizing Korean and Japanese coaches to succeed Philippe Trusier,” the media said, adding, “The new coach of the national team must be reputable, qualified, and most importantly, suitable for Vietnamese football,” suggesting that a Korean coach could once again lead the team after Park Hang-seo.


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