Vietnamese football leagues to be led by Japanese chief

January 04, 2014 | 08:38
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The 2014 football season is the first time a foreign expert will be head of Vietnam’s organization board of football leagues.

Mr. Tanaka Koji of Japan will arrive in Vietnam on January 10 to discuss a labor contract with Vietnam Professional Football (VPF), a unit in charge of competition organizations under the Vietnam Football Federation.

Vo Quoc Thang, head of the VPF, spoke to Tuoi Tre about Mr. Koji’s new appointment.

Tuoi Tre: In the 2013 season, VPF wished to hire a Japanese expert for the post of the general director, and this year, you recruited him as head of the organization board of Vietnam’s leagues.

First of all, VPF and the organization board of J-League have been on good terms for many years.

We want the leagues in Vietnam to improve. The post of organization board chief is very important; it must be filled by an expert.

Japan can help us tackle ongoing issues in our football program.

Can you brief the background of Mr. Tanaka Koji?

The 58-year-old man is a former defensive midfielder of the Nippon Kokan FC and played for the Japanese national team in 1982-84. He was once captain of the team.

He scored three goals during his 20 matches playing for the national team.

In 1989, he was the coach of Nippon Kokan.

In 1993-95, he coached the national teams of U-18, U-19, and U-20 of Japan.

In 2003-05, he was the managing director of the Japanese football club Vegalta Sendai.

He also joined several partners to run youth football training schools in Japan.

Does he know Vietnamese football well?

Not only Mr. Koji but also the managers of the J-League know and understand Vietnamese football well.

Moreover, Mr. Koji will be aided by staff and departments of the VPF when he is working in Vietnam.

After arriving in Vietnam on Jan. 10, he will travel to Dong Nai to watch the match between Dong Nai and Ninh Binh in the first round of the V-League.

He will return to prepare for his official work in Vietnam soon after.

Are you confident of his success in Vietnam?

If I were not confident of his success, I would not have invited him.

Mr. Koji is excited about his new job in Vietnam. I believe that he will help VPF improve our organization and management thanks to his experience and knowledge, and that he will improve Vietnamese football to make it as successful and lucrative as the J-League.

VPF general director Pham Ngoc Vien will act as the head of the organization board during the first days of the 2014 season before Mr. Koji returns to Vietnam.

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