Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Quảng Ninh Coal made waves a day before the V.League resumed after a two-month break by announcing that a woman, retired footballer Nguyễn Kiều, has been appointed as their manager.
Kiều will make her first public appearance as manager on Sunday when Quảng Ninh play Hoàng Anh Gia Lai in the 17th round match in the central highland’s Pleiku City.
“Vietnamese clubs have not appointed a woman manager for a long time in the belief that she may bring bad luck. However, I think it’s normal to have a woman manager. Look at Thailand. They have Watanya Wongopasi as their manager at the Southeast Asian Games, where they were champions,” said Phạm Thanh Hùng, president of Quảng Ninh Coal.
Hùng said Kiều would practise with the players and will be present in the team’s cabin during all matches. “We want to change people’s opinion of women. The key point (of winning and losing) is the quality of players. If they are good, there’s no reason to worry about bad luck. My team must focus on their skills; we have a woman manager, and we want good results for the rest of the season,” he said.
Kiều is the second woman manager in the V.League, after Nguyễn Thị Xuân Thái of Sài Gòn Port, who was in the role many years ago.
Quảng Ninh are currently ranked No. 3, behind FLC Thanh Hóa and Hà Nội.
In their upcoming match, they will play without key striker Vũ Minh Tuấn, who is injured. Their captain sprained his ankle while playing for the national team in the 2019 Asian Cup qualification-round match against Cambodia last week, and doctors have said that he must rest for four weeks. Tuấn is currently the team’s top scorer, having scored six times.
During the two-month break, coach Phan Thanh Hùng took his team to Đà Nẵng for a two-week practice session, where they played friendly matches with Quảng Nam, Hải Phòng, Sanna Khánh Hòa and SHB Đà Nẵng. The break also gave his injured players, including midfielder Nguyên Sa, time to recover and prepare for their comebacks.
“It is the tournament’s break, but all teams have been training. In Quảng Ninh, we tried to improve our physique and fix our disadvantages to speed up for the rest of the season,” the coach said. “Quảng Ninh have played poorly in the previous months because many players were injured, and the foreign players could not fulfil our demands. But now I have Dyachenko back in the team. He integrates with us quickly because he has played here for one season.”
“Fans will see a different Quảng Ninh,” said Hùng, whose team have six points less than the leader. “Our target is to be among the final top three this season. We will never give up when our goal is within our reach.”
Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, whom Hùng’s team will face this weekend, will also be playing with a disadvantage – they’ll be playing without Vũ Văn Thanh who suffered a thigh injury in the same Asian Cup qualifier match as Tuấn. However, Thanh is luckier as he has been asked to rest for just one week.
His absence, however, remains a problem for coach Nguyễn Quốc Tuấn as Thanh has been an indispensable player in his line-up for a long time. Despite being a defender, Thanh can switch to play as midfielder, and his scoring skills are as good as a striker’s.
Thanh not only scores for his club, but also plays for the national youth squad as well as the senior team. His skills are well recognised, so much so that some scouts want to take him to Europe.
Currently, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai are ranked at No 11.
Other matches of the round are: Hải Phòng vs Becamex Bình Dương, and SHB Đà Nẵng vs Cần Thơ, which will be this afternoon.
A day later, former winners Sông Lam Nghệ An will host defending champions Hà Nội FC at the Vinh Stadium; Sanna Khánh Hòa will entertain HCM City in the beach city of Nha Trang; Quảng Nam will visit bottom-placed Long An; and Sài Gòn FC will welcome FLC Thanh Hòa at the Thống Nhất stadium.
Despite being the visiting side, Thanh Hóa said more than 10,000 of their supporters would be turning up to encourage them so that they can make Thống Nhất their home turf on Sunday. Thanh Hoá president Nguyễn Giang Đông is excited at the prospect of full stands. “They will be great in the stands. More than 10,000 fans - we cannot wait to play,” he said. — VNS