Sports

The local game: walking the talk

The Frenchman’s claim that “eighty per cent of Vietnamese fans want me sacked” in the pre-match press conference was a slap in the face of the media, as well as the fans. The result of the match, however, may have only grown the number of his dissidents.

 

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Philippe Troussier directing training. — VNA/

Theo Vietnamnews

Photo Minh Quyết

Anh Đức

Philippe Troussier opened last week by firing shots at his opponents in the form of journalists, but his team did not fire any shots at Indonesia’s goal in the crucial match on Thursday.

The Frenchman’s claim that “80 per cent of Vietnamese fans want me sacked” in the pre-match press conference was a slap in the face of the media, as well as the fans. The result of the match, however, may have only grown the number of his dissidents.

Việt Nam brought in Troussier with hopes of playing a modern style of football, with the Frenchman promising to bring the Golden Star Warriors to the 2026 World Cup. But what really transpired in the first year of his reign? A dismal result in all competitions, with nine losses, a horrible defence and a clumsy attack. There was no control whatsoever in Việt Nam’s play, and when they went behind, it was even more chaotic.

“The White Wizard” had one year to perfect his philosophy and play style with the team, but no progress came in the form of results: Việt Nam are nearer to elimination than qualification for the World Cup, and have stumbled out of the FIFA Rankings’ top 100.

What is even more mind-boggling is his selection of players. In the last match, Việt Nam, when 1-0 down, had Nguyễn Quang Hải, Hồ Tấn Tài and Vũ Văn Thanh on the bench. Hải, who had saved Việt Nam multiple times in crunch moments, never got a chance to play, while Văn Thanh and Tấn Tài were brought on way too late and did not play in their preferred positions.

On the other side of the pitch, Shin Tae-yong’s half-time substitutions were on point and brought Indonesia their winning goal. If a manager’s job is to understand and utilise the players, then, in my opinion, Shin is better than Troussier as a manager.

As time is ticking and the number of his proponents is dwindling, Troussier and his team need to focus on and figure out exactly what Việt Nam needs to do in order to win the “return leg” at home against Indonesia on Tuesday – a crucial match that would decide the future of Vietnamese football for years to come. This is no time for fighting with the press, instead, the Frenchman should rally the whole nation together, a feat he has been unable to do since his inauguration.

For the last year, whenever Troussier’s Việt Nam plays, almost no one cares, compared to the “football-crazy” times of Park Hang-seo. The Frenchman must understand that the opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference.

Right now, Vietnamese do not hate Troussier, they are indifferent to his team as long as he does not “walk the talk”.

Theo Vietnamnews