"White Witch Doctor" Troussier is Việt Nam national football team's next coach

February 17, 2023 - 10:56
The Frenchman's work is due to start in March at the next Under-23 team training camp ahead of the 32nd SEA Games in May.


Philippe Troussier, pictured while he was coach of Việt Nam Under-19s. — VNA/VNS Photo

Anh Đức

HÀ NỘI — Frenchman Philippe Troussier has agreed to become the next manager of the Việt Nam national football team.

Troussier, 67, will coach both the national team and the Under-23 team, according to a statement from the VFF on Thursday.

The Frenchman's work is due to start in March at the next Under-23 team training camp ahead of the 32nd SEA Games in May.

The VFF's statement read: "The selection of the right person for this position (as Việt Nam national team coach) has been carefully processed by the VFF.

"The VFF and Mr Philippe Troussier have basically agreed upon principles regarding the position of National team Head Coach, as well as U23s Head Coach. Upcoming goals and missions are also agreed upon."

Troussier, born in Paris, started his footballing career as a defender playing for lower-league teams for nine years. He then transferred to management after ending his playing career.

The Frenchman did not have much success until his move to the Ivorian team ASEC Mimosas, where he won three Ivory Coast league championships in his first three seasons.

In 1998, Troussier became the manager of Nigeria's national football team, where he guided the Super Eagles to the 1998 World Cup, but was later replaced by the more experience Bora Milutinovic before the final tournament.

He then managed South Africa to qualification in the World Cup, but they didn't progress past the group stage of the tournament in his home country.

Troussier left Africa in 1998 and was nicknamed the "White Witch Doctor" for his contribution and legacy in African football.

Perhaps his most famous job stint came in Japan when he took over as head coach as the Asian nation prepare to host the 2002 World Cup. Before Troussier found success with the senior team, he took control of Japan U-20 and surprised many by finishing second in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Many Japan U-20 players went on to become players in the U-23 team that was a quarterfinalist at the 2000 Olympics in Australia and eventually called up to the senior squad that won the 2000 AFC Asian Cup.

Troussier's youngsters went into the 2002 World Cup full of confidence and finished in the last 16, Japan’s best performance ever back then.

The French coach left Japan in 2003, and took on various jobs worldwide but cannot find his former glory.

Troussier is quite familiar with Vietnamese football, having been the Technical Director at the Promotion Fund of Vietnamese Football Talent Academy (PVF). The PVF then referred him to be Việt Nam U-19 Football Team coach, where he led the youngsters to a successful qualification campaign for the 2020 AFC U19 Asian Cup, before the tournament was eventually cancelled due to COVID.

During his time in Việt Nam, many pundits have touted Troussier as a potential successor for then-national team coach Park Hang-seo, who helped Việt Nam to their recent footballing successes.

Park and Troussier shared a lot of similarities according to pundits, including their favourite formation 3-4-3, and disciplined defensive tactics.

The Frenchman, however, wants his players to take more risks and be active in their plays.

“The White Witch Doctor” is believed to have met with star player Nguyễn Quang Hải in France, while Hải is playing for Pau FC. He also planned to meet with Nguyễn Công Phượng, who recently moved to Yokohama FC in Japan.

Troussier is set to sign a four-year contract on February 26, which will last until the end of the 2026 World Cup, where he hopes to lead Việt Nam towards qualification.

When he takes the job, he will also become the Golden Star Warriors’ oldest-ever coach and the first manager of Việt Nam to have led a team at the World Cup. — VNS