Supporters of the Vietnamese national football (soccer) team were shocked to read head coach Toshiya Miura hinting at the possibility of resignation, or so they thought.
The Japanese coach, who took the helm in May 2014, purportedly said he “will not coach [the Vietnamese team] anymore,” in a status update on an unverified Facebook page named Miura Toshiya on Wednesday.
The post came just one day after Vietnam conceded a 0-3 home defeat against Thailand in the Asian World Cup qualifying round.
The status update said Miura was truly pained by the match where Thailand were far too strong for Vietnam.
“We lost but the fans still not turned to us. Thank you, maybe later I will not train you anymore but I am very happy and thank you very much. Goodbye! (sic),” the status reads.
Even though the post came from an unverified Facebook account, a screenshot of it immediately went viral on the social network, with fans saying thanks and sharing their sympathy with the coach.
Miura is not known as a Facebook user by his Vietnamese colleagues and assistants.
He had never talked about his Facebook account before the dubious page under his name surfaced.
Tran Quoc Tuan, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday that he had not been briefed about the alleged resignation of Miura.
“I asked VFF general secretary Le Hoai Anh but he asserted that it was false information,” Tuan said.
Bong Da (Football) newspaper said it had contacted Miura via text-messaging and was told that the Japanese coach had never used Facebook, so such an account is fake.
Miura quickly won support from local fans and the press when he began the job with the Vietnamese national and under-23 teams, as he led both squads to several impressive victories.
But 2015 has not been a good year for Miura. In the wake of several uninspiring games, the Thailand defeat is a new low.
In September, Miura was also criticized for the Vietnamese style of play, promoting what they called a lackluster, pro-violence game style.
The Japanese coach also tends to ask his men to commit fouls more frequently, reacting as if nothing has happened when penalized by referees.
Despite the run of poor results, the VFF is still in favor of the coach, saying he did help Vietnam win several important games, including a third place at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
He also led Vietnam to the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship finals, to take place in Qatar in January.
“Miura started the Vietnam job at a time when the national and U-23 teams lacked achievement,” Anh, the VFF general secretary, said at a recent meeting.
“But we should not forget several good results he has had with the teams.”
With Vietnam’s football struggling to improve, the General Department of Sports and Physical Training is slated to hold a conference to remedy the situation.
The event, scheduled to take place in Hanoi in December, is expected to let football experts, analysts, coaches, club managers, and even scientists discuss ways to revitalize football in Vietnam.