Mai Duc Chung has decided not to coach Vietnam for the 2023 Women’s World Cup after helping the team qualify for the premier tournament for the very first time.
“I will step down by the end of this year. I’m old and I feel tired,” Chung said Monday, one day after helping Vietnam to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.
“I will try to find someone else to be the head coach. I have considered some options and a foreign coach might take my place. Next year I’ll be 73. Therefore, I will only be a consultant for the team,” he said.
As per Chung’s plan, SEA Games 31, hosted by Vietnam in May, will be his final tournament as the head coach of the Vietnam national women’s football team.
Chung first coached the team from 2003 to 2005, winning two SEA Games gold medals. After that, he coached several domestic clubs before returning to the team in 2014. In 2015, Vietnam recruited Japanese coach Norimatsu Takashi to be the head coach but after poor results, Chung returned to helm one more time. He helped Vietnam win the SEA Games gold in 2017 and 2019.
Chung said that his biggest dream was to take the team to the World Cup and he realized it after Vietnam’s 2-1 victory against Taiwan in the playoffs in India on Sunday.
“I couldn’t sleep because I was so happy.”
Vietnam’s journey to the World Cup has been a special one. Before competing in the Women’s Asian Cup 2022 in India (which was also a World Cup qualifier), many players on the team got Covid-19 during a training trip in Spain.
Vietnam were preparing to quit the tournament at that time because only six players flew to India. Just a day before the first game, the team managed enough players to field a team. Then they lost to South Korea and Japan.
After slipping through the group stage as one of the best third-placed teams, Vietnam lost 1-3 to China in the quarterfinals and entered the playoffs, where they beat Thailand then Taiwan to qualify for the world’s top tournament for the first time ever.
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