|The Vietnamese football team
In an article entitled “Foreign flavour delivers tasty success for Vietnam”, FIFA said Vietnam has enjoyed increasing success in recent years. The nation won the recent regional title and qualified for the 2019 Asian Cup.
“Vietnam certainly didn’t suffer from stage fright and played with confidence in last week’s opener against Iraq, twice taking the lead only to be edged 3-2 in the last minute by the winners of that 2007 edition. Despite subsequently losing 2-0 to continental big guns Iran, they rallied to defeat Yemen by the same scoreline to win through to the knockout stage as one of the third-best teams,” FIFA said.
"Park Hang-seo is among the most successful foreigners to have coached our national team over the years," FIFA quoted President of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Le Khanh Hai as saying.
“Under him, the team have played with great determination and gained substantial achievements,” Hai noted.
FIFA also spoke highly of Vietnam’s policy in hiring foreign coaches for their men’s national team. Vietnam first attempted to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Afterwards, the campaign ignited the nation’s passion for the game, with the VFF embarking on long-term development.
“It is a frequently used policy stretching back several decades that has often born fruit for Vietnamese football. That has never been more the case, however, than in the present day with coach Park Hang-seo from the Republic of Korea (RoK), guiding Vietnam through its qualification and into the AFC Asian Cup,” the federation noted.
German Karl Heinz Weigang was given the reins of the national team in 1995. Under him, Vietnam achieved a breakthrough success, finishing third at the 1996 AFF Championship (the Southeast Asian championship also known as the Tiger Cup).
Then came Austrian Alfred Riedl, who guided Vietnam to the final in the 1998 edition, before Portuguese Henrique Calisto took over in 2002. These two would go on to enjoy more successful stints in charge of Vietnam, with Riedl taking the team to the last eight in the 2007 Asian Cup as co-hosts, and Calisto leading them to their maiden regional title in the 2008 AFF Championship.
Under the reign of coach Toshiya Miura from Japan, Vietnam qualified for the knockout round of the 2014 ASIAD in the RoK’s Incheon. Notably, the team bagged a historic 4-1 win against Iran in the group stage.
“But it is Park who has, by far, been the most successful foreign mentor. Under him, Vietnam made history by reaching the final at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship, while the national senior side won their second regional title in December 2018”.
Vietnam secured the last ticket to the round of 16 at the ongoing 2019 AFC Cup after narrowly qualifying over Lebanon on fair-play points.
“From cooperation with these foreign coaches, we have learnt professionalism, carefulness, and strictness in training. The knowledge we have gained is beyond even the tactical and technical sides, and we are now aware of the importance of mentality and nutrition for example,” the VFF President said.