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Park Hang-seo, Kim Pan-gon to match at Mitsubishi Cup

Posted December. 27, 2022 08:02,   

Updated December. 27, 2022 08:02


Vietnam national soccer team coach Park Hang-seo (63) and Malaysia national soccer team coach Kim Pan-gon (53) will compete at the Mitsubishi Cup, the “World Cup in Southeast Asia.” The Group B match of the Southeast Asian Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Cup will be held at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam at 9:30 p.m. (Korean time) on Tuesday.

The match is an interesting encounter between the two Korean coaches. Park became a renowned soccer coach in South East Asia since he took to lead the team in October 2017. He was nicknamed “Sal-ddink,” whimsically taking after the famous Gus Hiddink coach. In 2018, Shin Tae-young (52), a former head coach of the Korean national soccer team during the 2018 Russian World Cup, took charge of the Indonesian team the following year, and Kim Pan-gon is now leading the Malaysian team since early this year. The matches of Korean head coaches have become a big event in the region. Park and Shin already faced each other in two games, and Park led the scores with one win and one draw.

The game on Tuesday is the first encounter between Park and Kim. Their respective team has not recorded any defeat so far in the competition. The Vietnamese team, the winner of the 2018 Cup, defeated Laos 6:0 in the first group match. Malaysia beat Myanmar 1-0 on Wednesday and Laos 5-0 on Saturday and is currently leading Group B.

Vietnam is evaluated to be winning over Malaysia in terms of objective game power. Under the leadership of Coach Park, Vietnam started as runner-up in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship in 2018 and reached the semifinals of the Asian Games. After that, Coach Park even put his team to the top of the Suzuki Cup (now the Mitsubishi Cup) for the first time in 10 years. Then he continued to lead the team in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup to the quarterfinals and in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar to Asia’s final qualifying round. Most of all, he will need to win this tournament to mark his “beautiful farewell” as he decided to end his contract with Vietnam in January next year.

Malaysia, the 2018 Mitsubishi Cup runner-up team, is also quickly setting the team again after appointing coach Kim earlier this year. Before the Mitsubishi Cup, they defeated Cambodia 4-0 on Dec. 9 and Maldives 3-0 on Dec. 14 in two eval‎uation matches this month. The team has secured two victories in this tournament, raising the expectation that there is a chance to turn over the stage and win against Vietnam.

The Mitsubishi Cup is the most prestigious tournament in Southeast Asia and is held every two years. Since beginning in 1996, the event celebrated its 14th anniversary this year. Until last year, the title was Suzuki Cup but changed the name to Mitsubishi following the change in sponsoring company.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com