Former 'iron' defender appointed Viet Nam's head coach

Published: February 17, 2016

A former Vietnamese international has been appointed head coach of the national squad, less than one month after the country’s governing football body parted company with Japanese manager Toshiya Miura after a winless run under his helm.

Coach Nguyen Huu Thang. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Coach Nguyen Huu Thang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

‘Iron’ defender Nguyen Huu Thang, who was on the national team from 1996 to 2002, is slated to sign a two-year contract with the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) this Friday.

The move to hold the contract signing ceremony in Ha Noi is pending approval from the VFF’s superior organization, the General Department of Sports and Physical Training.

It has been rumored that Thang will receive no less than VND100 million (US$4,464) in monthly salary to take over the hot seat, but the VFF general secretary said such information would not be disclosed as per contract restrictions.

Thang was previously the coach of Song Lam Nghe An, playing in the V-League 1, the country’s top-tier football league. The 44-year-old left the club in 2015 and was unemployed when the VFF offered him the national team job.

In late January, the VFF fired Japanese coach Toshiya Miura, who led the team from May 2014 but failed to leave any legacy on his exit.

Thang and Le Huynh Duc, the current coach of V-League 1 side SHB Da Nang, both emerged as the top candidates to fill the vacancy.

However Duc refused to take the job, saying he could not leave his club.

Thang won a silver medal with Viet Nam at the Southeast Asian Games in 1995 and a bronze medal at the Tiger Cup, the region’s football championship, a year later.

He began his coaching career in 2005, three years after retiring as a footballer. He won the V-League 1 in 2011, becoming one of the only three Vietnamese to win the title as both player and coach. The other two are Duc and Phan Thanh Hung, former coach of Ha Noi T&T.

The seasoned coach therefore has experience, expertise and decisiveness, which has given him full authority over the national squad.

Thang said he is authorized to choose his assistants, prepare plans and decide development strategies for the team on his own.

Once the contract is signed, Thang’s very first task will be to lead the team through the two last games at the Asian section of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.

(Source: Tuoi Tre News)