national teams. The appointment comes with a two-year contract, from May 2024 to March 2026.

Kim’s first task as head coach is to lead the national team through the remaining two matches of the 2026 FIFA World Cup second qualifying round in Asia. The team will face the Philippines at home on June 6 and then travel to Iraq for an away game on June 11.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has also outlined a busy schedule for the team, with gatherings planned in September, October, and November for both official and friendly international matches. These will serve as crucial preparation for upcoming competitions, including the 2024 ASEAN Mitsubishi Electric Cup and the third qualifying round of the 2027 AFC Asian Cup, which begins in March 2025.

For the U23 team, Kim will need to ensure optimal preparations for the 2026 AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers in September 2025, followed by the 33rd Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December 2025.

The VFF expressed confidence in Kim’s ability to lead both teams to success, citing his impressive track record and the cultural affinity between Vietnam and South Korea. Kim himself has expressed hope for strong support from Vietnamese fans and media, drawing motivation from the shared cultural ties.

Kim Sang Sik as coach
Kim Sang Sik as coach of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC in South Korea’s K-League 1. Photo: AFP

Born on December 17, 1976, Kim has a rich footballing background. He represented South Korea at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and achieved third place at the AFC Asian Cup in 2000 and 2007. Transitioning to coaching, he served as assistant head coach for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC in South Korea’s top-tier K-League 1 from 2013 to 2020, a period of great success for the club.

During his time as assistant coach, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC claimed six K-League 1 championships, one National Cup, and an AFC Champions League title. In 2021, Kim was promoted to head coach, and he promptly led the team to the 2021 K-League 1 title and the 2022 South Korean National Cup, earning him the ‘Best Coach of 2021’ accolade.

Kim’s appointment comes over a month after Frenchman Philippe Troussier’s contract was terminated prematurely in March. Under Troussier’s leadership, the Vietnamese U23 and national teams endured a difficult streak, with the national team suffering two defeats against Indonesia in the World Cup qualifiers. Currently, Vietnam sits in third place in their group, with three points from four games, three points behind second-placed Indonesia.