|Coach Phan Thanh Hùng of Quảng Ninh Coal knows every secret of his former team Hà Nội FC. The two teams will play each other in the National Super Cup match on December 29. — Photo webthethao.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội FC’s biggest concern about Thursday’s National Super Cup match is Quảng Ninh Coal’s coach Phan Thanh Hùng.
Hùng was Hà Nội FC’s head coach for six years before he signed a contract with Quảng Ninh last year.
Hùng knows everything about Hà Nội FC’s players – their strengths and weaknesses, their habits and personalities. During his time, Hà Nội FC won the V.League twice, four silver medals, one Super Cup trophy and a silver in the National Cup.
The man behind Hà Nội FC’s current playing style, Hùng has helped Quảng Ninh, who just completed their third V.League year, defeat Hà Nội FC twice and draw once in their four meets last season.
As the two sides get ready to meet each other on Thursday in a match that will kick off the national football year, Hà Nội FC managers are worried.
“He was my trainer and brother for six years. He has left a deep mark on our club. We are facing a person who understands our every move, and that is not easy. The match will be difficult for us,” said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm of Hà Nội FC.
Nghiêm, who successfully lifted Hà Nội FC from a poor start to win the National Premier League title in his debut as head coach, said he has told his players to focus 100 per cent and play their best.
Another problem for Hà Nội FC is that they don’t have a key striker as Hoàng Vũ Samson cannot play because of a lung infection.
However, Nghiêm is confident that his substitutes can do the job.
“It is a pity that Samson is absent. But our newcomer Oloya Moses can fill the gap. Despite being new, he has integrated well with the team,” the coach said.
Moses will be strongly supported by captain Gonzalo Damian Marronkle and the two national-level players, midfielder Phạm Thành Lương and striker Nguyễn Văn Quyết.
The players are excited after last week’s send-off ceremony when the team got a new name (Hà Nội FC was formerly known as Hà Nội T&T) and the ownership of Hàng Đẫy stadium.
This will be the fourth time that Hà Nội FC are playing in the Super Cup, while it will be Quảng Ninh’s first time. Hà Nội’s only Super Cup trophy was won when Hùng was coach in 2010.
If Quảng Ninh win on Thursday, Hùng will make history as the first coach to lift the Super Cup with two different teams.
Hùng, however, is cautious when he talks about his former team.
“I keep my eyes on the transfer market, and I am impressed with Hà Nội FC’s new players. Moses is the best foreign player in Việt Nam in 2016. He will strengthen Hà Nội’s midfield. Others like Trịnh Duy Long and Hồ Minh Dĩ are really talented players,” he said. “At present, Hà Nội FC are too strong to beat. But in the last season’s meets we have had wins, a draw and a loss. This match will be a must-watch for everyone.”
This year, the Super Cup organisers have increased the bonus for winners - trophy holders will walk away with VNĐ300 million (US$12,800), while runners-up will take home VNĐ200 million ($9,000).
The game at Hàng Đẫy stadium will be telecast live on VTV6 channel from 4pm. — VNS