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Feb 17, 2023 / 06:39

French coach Philippe Troussier takes seat at Vietnam national football team

Philippe Troussier is known for guiding Japan to the round of 16 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and to the championship at the 2000 AFC Asian Cup.

The “White Wizard” Philippe Troussier will become the next head coach of Vietnam’s national football team, marking his return to Vietnam since 2021.

Vietnam's new head coach Philippe Troussier. The French coach is expected to guide Vietnam football teams to defend their SeaGames championship and qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The French coach will reportedly arrive in Hanoi on February 26 to sign his contract, which will last from March 1, 2023, to July 31, 2026. He will take charge of both the national team and the U23 team.

The Vietnam U23 team will have to defend the championship at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games which will be hosted by Cambodia on May 5-17, 2023, then compete in the 19th Asian Games (Asiad 19), which takes place in Hangzhou in September-October 2023.

The national team will play two matches in the 2026 FIFA World Cup 2026’s first-round qualification in November 2023. Head coach Philippe is expected to guide the national football team to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which is co-hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico.

The French coach has also selected two former footballers Nguyen Viet Thang and Mai Xuan Hop for the coaching staff.

Forty-two-year-old Thang is the ex-head coach of Can Tho Football Club and he used to work at the PVF Football Academy where Philippe held the title of Technical Director. Meanwhile, 37-year-old Hop was one of Philippe’s assistants when the Frenchman took charge of Vietnam’s U18 and U19 youth teams in 2019-2021.

Coach Tran Cong Minh, ex-captain of the Vietnamese national team, said that Philippe is a talented, experienced head coach who breathed the air of the World Cup tournament twice.

Minh said that Philippe will offer new tactics, thoughts, and movements for Vietnamese players.

Former Vietnamese national footballer Nguyen Tuan Phong said that Philippe is very interested in working with potential young players.

He picked many players aged 16-17 years old for the U17 team in 2020 and many of them are now performing well in V-League, the highest competition, he said.

Phong expected the French coach to continue to bring new faces into the national team. “Vietnamese players will have to compete for the regular starting eleven and create a new momentum for the national team.”

“Hopefully, young players will have their opportunities to show off their abilities. I hope Philippe will be lucky and Vietnam will make big steps in the future.”

French coach Philippe Troussier, as known as the White Wizard, managed the national teams of Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Africa, Japan and Qatar. He guided South Africa to the group stage at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France and Japan to the round of 16 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup hosted by Japan and South Korea.

Philippe also won the 2000 AFC Asian Cup with Japan and guided the country’s U20 team to second place at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria.

In 2018, he became the technical director of the PVF Football Academy, then took charge of the Vietnam U19 team. Under his management, the team qualified for the 2020 AFC U19 Championship but the tournament was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Philippe departed from Vietnam in 2021.

Vietnam’s last head coach Park Hang-Seo ended his reign on January 31 after a five-year term with the country.