Park will lead his Vietnam U22 squad to face hosts China U22s under the guidance of the experienced Dutch football manager in a friendly set at Huangshi Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Huangshi city, Hubei province, on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference on September 7, Park said it is meaningful to him to meet Hiddink as the duo cooperated on the coaching board to take the Republic of Korea national team to a historic 4th-place finish at the 2002 World Cup.
Park at that time was no. 1 assistant to Hiddink and now the Korean strategist is the coach of Vietnam U22s while Hiddink leads China U22s. Facing his former mentor in a top coaching position for the first time in the upcoming meaningful match “will be a lot of fun,” said Park.
Park meets his former mentor, Guus Hiddink, who is leading China U22s. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
The 60-year-old also said that this is a good opportunity to test the ability of his players in preparation for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games later this year and for the AFC U23 Championship next year. As he wanted to see how the young Vietnamese players cope with prominent rivals with good physique, like China U22s, Park has not put much requirement on tactics.
In order to create the best conditions for Vietnam U22s to have greater opportunity to test their squad for the SEA Games campaign, the organisers have approved Park’s proposal on the maximum number of players to be replaced in the match. Accordingly, both teams will be allowed to send on the field a maximum of 11 substitutes each.
Regarding China U22s, Park said he did not have much information about the hosts. “I only know that two days ago they played a 1-1 draw in a friendly against the DPRK U22s. I am not familiar with the background of Chinese players, but I understand coach Hiddink because I have had time to work with him. Hiddink has been with Chinese football for a long time, so he must have well prepared the Chinese U22 players for tomorrow (September 8)’s match,” Park said.
Joining his coach in the press brief, Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc said that the whole team are well prepared and ready for the match. “We were watching videos of China U22s’ matches. In my opinion, they are a strong team and will help us with the necessary accumulation to compete in the SEA Games. Currently, myself and my teammates are looking forward to showing our ability on the field,” Hoang Duc said.
Meanwhile, Hiddink said he was happy to meet his colleague and former assistant Park Hang-seo. He said he was proud of Park’s achievements with Vietnamese football but vowed to cause troubles for his friend in this afternoon’s match. China U22s have some injuries but the Dutch coach said this would be a quality match for his side.
Park Hang-seo and the Vietnam U22 squad during their training session at the Huangshi Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Huangshi city, Hubei province, China, on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
On Saturday afternoon, Vietnam U22s had a training session to familiarise with the Huangshi Stadium. The match will take place at 5 pm this afternoon (Vietnam time), broadcasting live on VTC1 channel, as well as on the facebook page of the Vietnam Football Federation and the Next Sports channel.