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Star coach pushes Da Nang to glory

Update: February, 26/2009 - 00:00

Star coach pushes Da Nang to glory

(27-02-2009)

HA NOI — Le Huynh Duc, 37, has used strict discipline and a fierce offensive style to be one of the most successful young coaches in the league since he has taken over as coach for V-League’s SHB Da Nang from former coach Phan Thanh Hung about one year.

The former national striker, who retired after three years of play in 2007, moved to Da Nang from the former HCM City-based Eastern Asia Bank team, has built a powerful squad with newly recruited players.

He set Pham Nguyen Sa to patch the midfield hole when Nguyen Hong Minh moved back to Thanh Hoa last year.

Brothers Phan Thanh Phuc and Phan Thanh Hung make up the rest of the midfield for the strongest trio in the V-League.

Key scorer Jose De Emidio Almeida from Brazil, who won the league’s best scorer title twice in 2007-08, leads team-play with fellow countrymen Molina Gaston Eduardo, Rogerio Machado Pereira and sweeper Rafael Marquez.

The top form players helped the central team knock out Hai Phong Cement 1-0 in the V-League opener on home turf Chi Lang Stadium.

It was Duc’s first face-off against former coach Austrian Alfred Riedl, who has coached Hai Phong Cement last October.

Riedl, who retired from the national team after the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand, will have more chances to clash with former players Tran Cong Minh and Trieu Quang Ha in the top-flight championship season.

Great expectations

Duc took the national Golden Ball award for best male player three times and contributed to the national team in the Southeast Asian Championship in 2002 and 1996, when they won bronze medals, and in 1998, when they claimed the silver.

"I really want to give it my all for my team and expect we will take the top spot in the V-League," Duc said in a phone interview.

"I hope to regain top form again, to achieve what it took to be the 1992 Champions," Duc said

Da Nang placed fourth out of 14 teams last year after poor performances for fifth and seventh places since 2006.

This Sunday, Duc and his team will battle against two-time champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai in an away game in Pleiku City, which will represent a tough game for Duc.

As extra incentive, Da Nang have been offered a cash prize of VND700 million (US$40,000) if they win Sunday’s match.

Gia Lai welcomed the return of their former coach Chatchai Paholpa last week. They also salvaged their spirit after a 1-0 win over arch rivals Dong Tam Long An to qualify for the National Cup quarter-final last Sunday.

The Central Highlands team is eager to beat Da Nang on home turf in the third round of this season’s V-League play to overcome their sadness over defeats by Dong Thap and HCM City the previous two weeks.

Da Nang, who is sponsored by Sai Gon Ha Noi Bank, have received VND400 million ($23,000) in cash prizes since this V-league season began.

A 2-1 win over Dong Thap at National Cup qualifying round last Sunday also gained them a bonus of VND350 million ($20,000).

The Cong will host defending champions Binh Duong in an interesting meet at Ha Noi’s Hang Day Stadium.

It will be battle between former Binh Duong coach Le Thuy Hai, who helped Binh Duong triumph in the V-League twice in 2007-08, and his former players.

Hai, who is The Cong’s assistant coach, will meet his former top players Tran Truong Giang, Vu Nhu Thanh, Huynh Quang Thanh, Nguyen Vu Phong and high-scorers South African Philani and Brazilian Alves Kesley.

Binh Duong, who signed a two-year contract with Portuguese coach Francisco Vital, will play with a strong defence to curb the stormy attacks by The Cong youngsters in the anticipated game on Sunday.

Other V-League Sunday games will see Hai Phong Cement host Mikado Nam Dinh; Thanh Hoa take Song Lam Nghe An; HCM City play Khanh Hoa.

At Long An Stadium, Dong Tam Long An meet T&T Ha Noi, while Military Zone 4 test Rubber Dong Thap in Vinh City. — VNS

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