Trần Quốc Tuấn (left) takes congratulation flowers from Việt Nam Football Federation's former president Lê Khánh Hải. Tuấn serves as Acting President of the national football governing body until the end of this year. Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — Trần Quốc Tuấn will become Việt Nam Football Federation's Acting President after a vote at the football body's annual congress, which closed in Hà Nội on Sunday.
Tuấn is currently VFF's Vice President for 2018-22, and will take on the top position and be voted in at the next congress for 2022-26, which is scheduled for the end of this year.
President Lê Khánh Hải resigned as he is busy with his job as a Party Central Committee member cum Chairman of the Office of the President.
Hải said that although he would not directly take part in Việt Nam's football activities, he would still keep an eye on the sport and its development. He hopes that under new president, Việt Nam football will successfully reach new milestones.
"It is my honour to receive delegate trust but there are also heavy tasks and challenges for me as the VFF President," Tuấn said.
"I am very grateful for the presence and support of VFF member organisations today. Your companionship and solidarity will help VFF reach important targets, go forward and lift up the status of national football internationally."
Tuấn is currently the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Chairman of the Competitions Committee. He is the Vietnamese with the highest position in international football.
Tuấn's most respected move in recent years was the successful negotiation to sign national head coach Park Hang-seo in 2017.
Plans for 2022
At the congress, delegates reviewed Việt Nam's football in 2021 and set plans for 2022.
In 2021, national football was still affected by the pandemic. However, the national football team for the first time secured a berth to compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup third-round qualification. Meanwhile, the national futsal squad competed in the 2021 World Cup, their second time in the competition.
In 2022, the VFF will continue carrying out key projects, focusing on targets set in the Vietnamese football development strategy to 2020, developing young footballers and improving stability in the professional football system.
The VFF will also build plans for the national teams in domestic tournaments and ensure resources for training ahead of international events, notably the remaining matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, the 2022 AFF Suzuki Cup and the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Talking at the congress, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoàng Đạo Cương said VFF must strengthen the direction and management of national teams to make achievements in the region and continent in the next few years.
He said the U23 team, women's football and the futsal squad should receive more attention to have successful tournaments, including the Southeast Asian Games in Hà Nội in May.
Acting President Tuấn also spoke about Việt Nam's tasks under his reign.
The national women's footballers on a training course in Spain. They have an important task defending their SEA Games title this May. Photo courtesy of VFF
The national men's team want to take a gold at the AFF Cup. The U23 and the women's squads must defend their titles at the SEA Games. Meanwhile, the men's and women's futsal sides are aiming for a berth in the final matches at the SEA Games.
For the long-term programme of winning a place at the 2026 World Cup, Tuấn said the VFF would strongly support the U17, U21 and U23 players.
The youngest will enjoy a training course in Germany in March, where they will practise and compete with the junior teams of six Bundesliga clubs, including Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt.
The U21s will be Việt Nam's representative at the AFF U23 Championship next month in Cambodia and the Asian Games in September in China.
The U23s will compete at the 31st SEA Games and the AFC U23 Championship in June in Uzbekistan.
"We hope that annual training courses will help players become familiar with professional football environments of international quality, which will push their development," said Tuấn.
The national team will receive strong support. After the last four matches at the World Cup qualifiers, they will have friendly matches and intensive courses to champion the 2022 AFF Cup, with the hosts and destination not yet confirmed.
The team, who were dismissed after their failure at the 2020 AFF Cup in Singapore, will return to practise on January 13 in Hà Nội in preparation for their World Cup meet with Australia on January 27 in Melbourne, and China on February 1 in Hà Nội.
After training in Spain, local clubs want to sign contracts with three Vietnamese players. However, no details have been announced.
Coach Mai Đức Chung and his players will fly to India to take part in the Asian Cup later this month. — VNS