|Gaffer: Coach Hoang Van Phuc holds his head coach jersey after signing a two-year contract to manage the Vietnamese national and U23 teams. — VNS Photo Quang Thang
HA NOI — The Viet Nam Football Federation yesterday appointed Hoang Van Phuc to officially take charge of the national team and the under-23 side.
Phuc, who has signed a two-year deal, has impressed the VFF with his past work with the national youth teams and his performance as interim manager since the sacking of Phan Thanh Hung last December. Under his stewardship, the team has played well and won in friendly matches and fallen to narrow defeats against Uzbekistan and Hong Kong in qualifiers for the 2015 Asian Cup.
"Phuc is the most suitable choice at present. The VFF promises to give him the best conditions to succeed in his job," said the organisation's deputy chairman Nguyen Lan Trung.
The new manager will lead the U23s to the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar later this year.
In 2014, Phuc and the national squad will strive to win the ASEAN football championships (AFF), with some of the group round fixtures taking place in Viet Nam.
Phuc has been told that he is expected to guide the U23s to the SEA Games final and the first team to at least the semi-finals of the AFF Cup.
"In elite sport, results are important but they are not everything. We are trying to be realistic with our targets, based on the recent achievements of the teams. When wearing the jerseys, players and coaches should unite together and try to achieve these goals," said VFF General Secretary Ngo Le Bang.
"I am very pleased that the VFF have shown belief in me to take charge of the two teams," said Phuc. "I want to create a beautiful and effective playing style for both sides. First, I will try to take the U23s to the final. Those who play well there will be selected for the national team competing at the AFF next year. The task is not easy – it never is in football – but we will thrive on the challenge. Currently our players are not very successful, so we need to change things and improve discipline and tactics."
In addition to his managerial responsibilities, Phuc will advise the VFF in the selection and training of talented young players.
Phuc's first games in official charge will be the friendly matches between the U23s and Japanese side Kashima Antlers on June 4 in Ha Noi and Myanmar's U23 in HCM City five days later.
Players will be summoned on May 28 in preparation for the matches.
In September they will travel to Hungary for a training camp and matches against local teams before returning home to compete at the HCM City International Football Cup.
The first team is scheduled to play Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and the UAE during the second-leg matches of the Asian Cup qualifiers.
Born in 1964, Phuc started playing football at the age of 12. He joined the military team The Cong and stayed until 1983. He then played for Military Zone 3 and the Viet Nam Railway before retiring in 1996 and turning his attention to management.
He first managed ACB Bank team in 2006 before moving to the VFF to work with the youth teams. He led the U16s to an ASEAN title in 2008 and the U19s to the finals in 2012. He also won a silver medal when the U22 squad finished runners-up in the 2012 Binh Duong Television International Football Cup. He later returned to club management with Ha Noi FC, winning the first division title, before his country came calling once more. — VNS