Head coach Philippe Troussier said Vietnamese football needs to better use players of Vietnamese-origin from around the world.
At a press conference held Monday to discuss the upcoming June training period for the Vietnam national and U23 teams, Troussier said that coaching alone will not be enough to level up Vietnamese football.
According to Troussier, the core power of a national team comes from club football. Therefore, it’s necessary to establish a league system with 40 to 50 games a season.
He also said Vietnamese football could improve by having more overseas Vietnamese players who are trained abroad come here to play.
“Scouts have sent me a list of about 20 players of Vietnamese origin,” Troussier said. “They live in countries like South Korea, Japan, Bulgaria, Russia, Czech Republic and France.”
Troussier believes that Vietnam are behind other countries in the region like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia on this matter.
As another example, he pointed out how strong the national teams in Africa are, just by using overseas players.
“Their players were born in Europe and trained in the best football countries, that’s why their squad power improved so quickly,” said Troussier, who has coached African teams in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Morocco.
In the past, many overseas players returned to Vietnam, but not many of them became stars. The two most successful Vietnamese-origin players are striker Mac Hong Quan (Czech Republic) and goalkeeper Dang Van Lam (Russia). Recently, Troussier called up midfielder Nguyen Duc An Khanh (Andrej Nguyen), who’s playing for Sigma Olomouc in the Czech Republic.
The 67-year-old coach said this case was made easier by the fact that Khanh already had Vietnamese citizenship.
“I hope there will be a more flexible policy for overseas players and more of them will play for the national team in the future,” Troussier said.
Troussier also mentioned two key players on the national team: Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Cong Phuong. Hai has just reached an agreement to end his contract a year early with Pau FC, after a disappointing spell at the French club. Phuong is struggling to find playing time at Japanese club Yokohama FC.
“Hai doesn’t deserve to be called up if we are talking about form or playing time, and the same is true for Phuong,” Troussier added. “But I still chose them for other criteria. I respect experienced players, who have been playing many years for the national team.”
When asked about his advice for Vietnamese players who plan to go abroad, Troussier said that clubs need to support them. He said there are clubs that are willing to spend big but lack the support to help players get used to the new environment.
“It’s most suitable for Vietnamese players to play in Asian countries like Thailand, South Korea, Japan,” he added.
For this training period, Troussier has called up 34 players to the national team and 24 players to the U23 team.