Vietnam make former Guus Hiddink assistant Park Hang-Seo new coach

Vietnam have appointed South Korea's Park Hang-Seo as their new national head coach as they continue their bid to seal qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

Park was assistant to Guus Hiddink when the Koreans reached the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil. He has since managed several club teams in his homeland, most recently Changwon FC.

The 58-year-old succeeds Nguyễn Hữu Thắng, who left his post in August following the failure of the country's under-22 side to qualify from the group stage of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.

It also ends speculation that former Thailand boss Kiatisuk Senamuang was being courted by Vietnamese officials to take over in a nation where he ended his club career.

The news was announced on the Vietnam Football Federation's official Facebook page, which showed images of the contract-signing ceremony in Seoul.

Park's remit will be to not only manage the senior side, but also to oversee the U23 and Olympic teams.

His first task will be to lead the Golden Stars to victory at home to Cambodia in a crucial Asian Cup qualifier on Oct. 10.

Vietnam sit in second in Group C, two points behind Jordan. A win over Cambodia would put Park's new side in a very strong position to qualify for the finals in 2019.

The Vietnamese Football Federation (VFF) will no doubt have considered Park's 2002 World Cup experience in the hiring process. He also led the Korean U23 side to a bronze medal at the Asian Games in the same year.

Park's experience in international football was some time ago, however. His experience as a club manager with Gyeongnam FC, Chunnam Dragons and Sangju Sangmu Phoenix has been steady, but unspectacular.

The VFF will hope that the lessons and experience learned from 15 years ago will assist him as he takes on a new challenge in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam are often considered the region's underachievers, lacking the discipline and mental strength to go with their talent. They will hope that Park can provide them with the winning mentality that helped his home country overcome the likes of Portugal and Italy back in 2002.