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National coach short-list goes blank

Update: March, 04/2008 - 00:00

National coach short-list goes blank


HA NOI — The Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) has been left in the lurch by last week’s surprise withdrawal of all five short-listed candidates for the job of national football coach.

Francisco Maturana Garcia (Colombia), Branko Ivankovic (Croatia), Hans Juergen Gede (Germany), Zoran Vulic (Croatia) and Dragoslav Stepanovic (Serbia) said they have accepted other job offers.

"It is true that all of them have been employed, so the VFF will have to find others," confirmed VFF chairman Nguyen Trong Hy.

"We know it is a waste of time and makes us hasty but we have to accept it. At the same time as approaching the VFF for the national coaching job, they sent their CVs to other federations. It was inevitable that they would receive alternative offers," he said.

Garcia signed with Trinidad and Tobago four weeks ago. Vulic has been coaching Russia’s Luc-Energyia Vladivostok since early January. Ivankovic is in the running to coach Iran after Spain’s Javier Clemente stepped down. He has also been invited to coach Iranian club Sepahan, the runner-up in the Asian Football Confederation’s Champions League.

Stepanovic said he did not want to work in Asia and was looking to work in Europe. Meanwhile Gede, the front runner as far as the Viet Nam coaching job was concered, is now coaching a struggling Second Division team in Malaysia.

Hy said the VFF had received a number of CVs from around the world, including Europe and South America.

Meanwhile, Hy who is also Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, last week met with Argentinean ambassador to Viet Nam to discuss sports co-operation between the two countries. The ambassador promised to send a top coach from Argentina to work in Viet Nam. If selected by the VFF, the ambassador said Argentina would contribute up to 30 per cent of the coach’s salary as an additional incentive to take up the job.

However, the VFF chairman said priority would be given to those who could demonstrate a sound knowledge of Vietnamese football "to avoid the risk of hiring an unsuitable coach," Hy said.

Chance for locals

Aside from looking abroad to fill the spot made vacant by Alfred Riedl’s departure, the VFF is looking at home-grown talent.

"We have some excellent Vietnamese coaches such as Mai Duc Chung, Le Thuy Hai and Vuong Tien Dung who are on the list," said Hy.

However, Chung, who has stood in as acting national coach for a number of games last year, has refused to be considered. Instead, he plans to be the national U23 team coach.

Meanwhile Hai is busy coaching the V-League champions Becamex Binh Duong, who are struggling in 10th place in the V-League, while Dung has his hands full coaching Hai Phong Cement in their first season back in the top flight division.

Portugal’s Henrique Calisto, who coaches two-time V-League champions Dong Tam Long An, was recommended for the job by Chung.

This is the third time Calisto has applied to coach the national team.

The Portuguese coach, who has 25 years’ professional experience, has said that he would be happy to take over the reigns of the national side if invited to do so.

Hy confirmed that he likes Calisto and said that he had as good a chance as any to get the job.

Hy said he had received financial pledges worth US$200,000 from various organisations to sponsor the appointment.

"It is good news when individuals and organisations who love football want to sponsor the appointment of a national team coach. They will be playing a key role in developing the national game," said theVFF chairman.

"We don’t have much time. The VFF will decide on a new coach this month. Everything will be carried out quickly and carefully."

"The council will list the best five or six persons and VFF leaders will select the best based on the number of ballots. It’s time to decide. I do not want to wait one day more," Hy said.

Austrian Riedl resigned from the top footballing job following the unsuccessful performance of the U23 team at the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand. — VNS

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