Mai Duc Chung, the meritorious head coach of the Vietnamese women’s national football team, has expressed his wish to retire and enjoy life just right after helping his players historically qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
Chung, now 71 years old, has been involved in coaching the women’s football team since 1997, just as relatively long as the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson at English Premier League side Manchester United F.C.
Chung’s and his players’ efforts in the past few years have born fruit as Vietnam will attend the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the very first time next year thanks to their remarkable result at the recent AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India, which also served as the final stage of the Asian qualification for the 2023 women’s global football showpiece in Australia and New Zealand.
Vietnam finished as the best team after three play-offs of the Asian Cup with two victories against Thailand and Chinese Taipei to secure their automatic qualifying spot, joining four other qualifiers -- China, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.
Following the World Cup qualification, Chung told reporters on Monday that he would continue coaching the Vietnamese women’s team until the end of the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which has been rescheduled from last year to May this year in Hanoi due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After that, Chung will leave the team’s head coach position to a new person, whom he and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) are scouting for.
|Mai Duc Chung (center), manager of the Vietnamese women’s national football team, is pictured during a training session. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation|
In the best-case scenario, he will take a new role as a technical advisor to continue contributing to Vietnamese women’s football while sparing time for his family and personal life.
Chung and the VFF have not discussed the matter in detail yet as the two sides are waiting for the head coach and his team to return to Vietnam from India on Thursday and take a short break after their challenging journey at the Asian Cup.
Under Chung’s spell, the Vietnamese women’s team won the first bronze medal in their history at the 1997 SEA Games held in Indonesia before rising to the regional champion position in 2003, 2005, 2017, and 2019.
Vietnam have won six SEA Games gold medals in women’s football so far.
In addition, Chung took the women’s team to the top four at the 2014 Asian Games before guiding them to the crown of the 2019 AFF Cup -- the competition in women’s football organized by the ASEAN Football Federation and contested by the national teams of nations in Southeast Asia.