A new start for Vietnam’s national football team

Nhan Dan – The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has recently appointed Japanese expert Toshiya Miura as the coach of the Vietnam men’s national football team on a two-year contract. Despite numerous expressions of surprise and even doubt about this decision, hopes are still pinned on the new coach from the land of the rising sun to bring a fresher wind to the national teams in the foreseeable future.  

Newly appointed coach Toshiya Miura is expected to make positive changes to the Vietnam national and national Olympic football teams.
Newly appointed coach Toshiya Miura is expected to make positive changes to the Vietnam national and national Olympic football teams.

Unknown as he may be to Vietnamese football lovers, Toshiya Miura is rather well-known in Japan, especially for his ability to achieve success with limited resources. This is Miura’s outstanding strength and also the reason why the Japan Football Association (JFA) decided to introduce him to the VFF as part of the support and co-operation programme between the two sides and not merely as another trainer.

To date, Miura has led two Japanese clubs, Omiya Ardija and Consadole Sapporo, to promotion from J-League 2 to J-League 1, Japan’s top football league. He demonstrated his coaching ability while training those two teams, developing in both cases a solid playing style. Moreover, he is also experienced in working with young players, and once trained ‘raw jades’ into real talents. Eiji Kawashima – the goalkeeper of the current Japan national team – is typical evidence of Miura’s ability. His special talent was discovered by Miura at the age of 18, and Kawashima was constantly entrusted as the team’s main goalkeeper during his time of playing for Omiya Ardija, which granted him opportunities to demonstrate his abilities and be selected to the national team, where he has become Japan’s number one goalkeeper over the last decade.

Those characteristics of the Japanese coach are well-suited to the Vietnam national team, which requires a restart following four consecutive years of failing at the regional arena—from the 2011 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup and the 2013 SEA Games.

Currently, Vietnamese football does not need a coach with a sparkling resume, but rather one who knows how to improve the situation. It will be not so difficult for the newly appointed coach Miura to seek promising new talent for the national and national Olympic teams while V-League giants Hanoi T&T, SNB Da Nang, Song Lam Nghe An and Hoang Anh Gia Lai have been paying ever more attention to investing in each successive generation. Many experts hope that the Japanese tactician’s capacity of discovering raw talent will continue to shine in Vietnam.

Miura will also face certain obstacles in his new post as the national coach, however. He has little experience in working with national teams and does not have much time to select his players as the V-League 2014 and the First Division tournament were half over when he signed his contract with the VFF.

The VFF has also taken appropriate measures in response to this situation, affirming not to assign specific achievement targets for Miura at the 17th Asian Games in September and the 2014 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup a month later. Freed from the pressure to perform, Miura is expected to whole-heartedly build a team with a strong base instead of only looking towards short-term goals as did his predecessors, who subsequently fell under the pressure of dreams and left bitter lessons about the importance of basic values.

Manager Le Thuy Hai of Becamex Binh Duong: The most important problem is not the coach’s resume, but his understanding of and suitability for Vietnamese football. My standpoint is that the new coach also needs apprenticeship time. Vietnam will play two friendly matches next month, and the Japanese coach must demonstrate his abilities to some extent.

Striker Le Cong Vinh of the national team: Japanese trainers always choose the playing styles which are suitable with the players’ bodies so that they can bring their strengths into full play. It is exciting to be coached by Miura. I believe that the Vietnam national team will achieve a lot of success under his dynasty.