By Cao Thi Ha
Park Hang-seo, head coach of the Vietnamese national soccer team, has been named Vietnam's best foreign coach of last year.
Park on Jan. 11 received the honor at the sixth ceremony for the Victory Cup awards at the Au Co Arts Center in Hanoi, Vietnam.
He beat out compatriot Kim Gil-tae, head coach of Vietnam's national women's taekwondo team, for the prize.
In 2018, Park led the Golden Star Warriors to the finals of the U-23 Asian Cup and lifted the championship trophy at the AFF Suzuki Cup (now the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup).
His team also won the gold medal in last year's Southeast Asian Games and in a first for Vietnam, the squad reached the final Asian qualifying round for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
"This year is when I leave the Vietnamese national team, which I've led for five years," he said. "Thank you so much for giving me this precious award."
"I have one last thing to do in Vietnam now," he added. "Since the final (of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup) remains, I think I must finish this final well to complete my mission in Vietnam."
"I will do my job as coach to perform well in my last final and spread good news to the Vietnamese people."
The Victory Cup awards honors athletes and coaches in Vietnam who contributed the most to sports in a year. The category of top foreign coach debuted in 2019.
Park will step down after this tournament, with the final versus Thailand to be his last game in charge.
Vietnam on Jan. 13 will play the first leg at 9:30 p.m. Korean Standard Time at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi and the second on Jan. 16 at the same time at Thammasat Stadium in Khlong Luang, Thailand. The winner's trophy goes to the team that scores the most goals over the two games.