Thailand legend Kiatisuk Senamuang denies link to Vietnam coaching job

Former Thailand head coach Kiatisuk "Zico" Senamuang has denied rumours that he is set to take charge of the Vietnam national team, insisting that his first priority is to complete his AFC Pro Licence before taking a new job.

The two-time AFF Cup winning coach quit his post as Port FC boss in the Thai League last week, following just one win in his 10 games in charge. And he insists that he will now focus on completing his qualification before returning to a coaching role next year.

With Kiatisuk in Bali to pick up the Coach of the Year gong at the AFF Awards last weekend, speculation heightened that he would be discussing the Vietnam head coach vacancy with officials from the Vietnamese Football Federation (VFF).

But Zico insisted that no one had spoken to him about a move to Thailand's Southeast Asian rivals, and suggested that the rumours had been generated due to his close links with Vietnam, having previously played and managed there.

"Rumours came from the Vietnamese media, but no one from the VFF has contacted me," Kiatisuk told Thairath TV. "Maybe the press are trying to promote me for the job because I used to live and work there.

"A lot of people assumed I would talk to VFF officials at the AFF awards ceremony, but it didn't happen.

"I am flattered to be linked with the position in Vietnam, but I want to keep working on the AFC Pro Licence, which I should finish by the end of this year."

Kiatisuk admitted that he had not originally wanted to make such a speedy return to a head coach position in the first place. He joined Port FC less than three months after leaving his post at the national side after being talked into it by the club's chairperson Nualphan "Madam Pang" Lamsan.

"I hadn't intended to come back into football so quickly but the club president persuaded me to join," Kiatisuk said. "My original intention was to return to coaching next year.

"As soon as I get the licence, I will have freedom to look at more options."

๒๘ กันยายน ๒๕๖๐ 🇹🇭๑๐๐ปี ธงไตรรงค์🇹🇭 ขอร่ำรำพรรณบรรยาย ความคิดเครื่องหมาย แห่งสีทั้งสามงามถนัด ขาวคือบริสุทธิ์ศรีสวัสดิ์ หมายพระไตรรัตน์ และธรรมะคุ้มจิตไทย แดงคือโลหิตเราไซร้ ซึ่งยอมสละได้ เพื่อรักษาชาติศาสนา น้ำเงินคือสีโสภา อันจอมประชา ธ โปรดเป็นของส่วนองค์ จัดริ้วเข้าเป็นไตรรงค์ จึ่งเป็นสีธง ที่รักแห่งเราชาวไทย ทหารอวตารนำไป ยงยุทธ์วิชัย วิชิตก็ชูเกียรติสยามฯ (พระราชนิพนธ์ในพระบาทสมเด็จพระมงกุฎเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว)🙏. 🇹🇭 #ด้วยสำนึกในพระมหากรุณาธิคุณหาท่ีสุดมิได้

A post shared by Kiatisuk Senamuang (@coach_zico) on

When pressed if he would prefer to stay in the Thai League after he had obtained his qualification, Kiatisuk suggested his future might lie outside of his homeland.

"If you were to get this licence, would you want to stay at home?" Kiatisuk asked. "If you look at some of the top coaches like Jurgen Klinsmann and Jose Mourinho, they have all travelled to different places to work in different leagues in different countries.

"Would you prefer to see Thai coaches stay in Thailand, or would you prefer to see them gaining experience in other countries?"

Despite a poor spell at Port FC, an excellent period as head coach of the War Elephants should see Kiatisuk as a man in demand in Thailand -- and beyond -- next year.