The last dance of Park Hang-seo (63), coach of the Vietnam national soccer team, for ‘Beautiful End’ begins. Coach Park, who decided to lay down the Vietnamese leadership in January next year, will challenge for the final championship through the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup (hereinafter referred to as the Mitsubishi Cup), which opened on the 20th.

The Mitsubishi Cup, which was renamed from the Suzuki Cup in the past, is called the ‘Southeast Asia World Cup’. Ten countries from the AFF will participate and are divided into two groups of five countries to play the group stage and determine the winner in a tournament. The home & away finals will be held on January 13 and 16 next year.

The Mitsubishi Cup has a special meaning for coach Park. In 2018, Vietnam won its first championship in 10 years and became a national hero. It is held every two years, but due to the Corona 19 pandemic, there is also a regretful memory of missing a second consecutive defeat in the semifinals of this tournament held last year by losing to rival Thailand. This tournament is the stage of farewell and revenge for coach Park.

After taking the baton in 2017, coach Park has put Vietnamese football in the ranks of the strongest in Southeast Asia. Following the runner-up in the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship, he led the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games semifinals. After winning the Suzuki Cup (current Mitsubishi Cup) that winter, he led the AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals the following year. In the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men’s football, called the ‘Southeast Asian Olympics’, they achieved two consecutive victories (2019/21) following their first victory in 60 years, and advanced to the final Asian qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar. All of them are the first in history or the first in decades, and they are footsteps that rewrite the history of Vietnamese football.

The process as well as the result was beautiful. Sometimes like a father, sometimes like a big brother, he led the team with ‘Papa Leadership’, communicating casually with the players. When the extreme Vietnamese media go out of their way to criticize for various reasons, “Criticize me. All of our players did their best,” he said, covering his students. In addition, to upgrade the national team management system, he devoted himself to the division of labor and specialization of the coaching staff role throughout his tenure.

After Director Park’s great success in Vietnam, the rush of Korean leaders to enter the Southeast Asian stage began in earnest. Among the 10 countries participating in the Mitsubishi Cup, not only Vietnam, but also Indonesia (Shin Tae-yong) and Malaysia (Kim Pan-gon) have a Korean leader. In the Southeast Asian soccer market dominated by Japan with its mighty financial power, the ‘Korean wave from Park Hang-seo’ is taking root. 토토

Finishing the journey of the past five years and putting down the baton is due to a difference of opinion with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) that occurred in the process of drawing a new vision for Vietnamese football. On the other hand, there is also a desire to escape from the world of fierce competition and start a second life that coach Park has always drawn. Director Park has long said, “I have a desire to devote myself to fostering youth for Vietnam, which gave me a second chance.”

Vietnam competes against Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Laos in Group B of the tournament. Ultimately, the key is to compete for the championship with Thailand, which belongs to Group A. On the other hand, the competition for the Korean command tower with coach Shin Tae-yong and coach Kim Pan-gon also draws attention. Vietnam’s first game is the first match in Group B against Laos kicking off at 9:30 pm (Korean time) on the 21st. The first confrontation with a Korean leader is the match against Malaysia on the 27th.

The players also came together for Park’s beautiful finale. An official from coach Park said, “Vietnamese players were greatly impressed by the sight of Argentina winning the World Cup for the first time in 36 years, united by Lionel Messi (35, Paris Saint-Germain) at the Qatar World Cup.” I have a strong determination to dedicate my life,” he said.