|VFF agrees with the proposal by coach Park Hang-seo (R) to let his first assistant Lee Young-jin (L) take charge of the U22 team at 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines later this year. (Photo: VFF)
According to the announcement issued by the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on February 23, the federation will entrust Park’s current assistant to take charge of the U22 team at the 2019 SEA Games.
The decision was made after VFF’s careful consideration based on the operational plans of the national team and the U23 team in 2019, in addition to a proposal from Park.
Accordingly, this year, after the Asian Cup campaign ended last January, Vietnamese football is aiming at three additional important goals, including the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualification, 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification and the 30th SEA Games.
In principle, Park will lead the corresponding teams to the three tournaments. However, the schedule of the final round in 2019 at the 2022 World Cup qualifiers (national team) and the 30th SEA Games (U22 team) all fall in November, making it hard for Park to cover all the professional work if he is still in charge of both the national team and the U22 team.
Agreeing that the priority for the national team is to compete in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, VFF had discussions and reached consensus with Park to find the most suitable solution to harmoniously meet the professional tasks of the national, U22 and U23 teams.
According to the suggestion from Park, assistant Lee has full capacity and confidence to lead the U22 team to attend the upcoming SEA Games. It is also the most suitable plan, helping Park to be fully committed to the World Cup qualifying campaign with the national team. However, Park will still accompany Lee as a professional mentor during the U22 squad’s training as well as the official competition.
Through multiple regional and continental tournaments over the past year, Lee has demonstrated his excellent professional ability, contributing significantly to the impressive achievements of both the national team and the U23 squad.
Above all, he is regarded as Park’s "right-hand man", who imbues and understands the football philosophy of Park - the factors that convince the VFF leaders to trust in Lee to quickly approach his new task at U22 team - the adjacent squad in the near future for the national team.
Coach Lee started his professional football career in 1986, frequently playing for the Korean national team and attended the World Cup 1990 and 1994. In 1997, he became a player cum coach at Anyang LG Cheetahs and later FC Seoul (renamed from the former).
The most notable period in coach Lee's coaching career was at Daegu FC in 2015, helping the team finish runners-up in the K-League 2.
After that, he joined coach Park to lead the Vietnamese team as an assistant. After the successes in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship, 18th Asian Games, AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and 2019 Asian Cup, coach Lee was honoured with the third-class Labour Order presented by President Nguyen Phu Trong.