Alfred Riedl, former Vietnam football head coach, dies at 70

football, soccer, manager, head coach, Alfred Riedl

Austrian Alfred Riedl, who served as the head coach of the Vietnamese national men’s football team in three non-consecutive terms between 1998 and 2007, passed away in his hometown in Vienna at the age of 70, international sports media reported on Tuesday.

The news was confirmed by Wolfgang Pikal, Riedl’s assistant during his time at the helm of the Indonesian national football team, according to CNN Indonesia.

IndoSport, Bola, and other Indonesian news sources also published the information.

According to Pikal, the cause of Riedl’s death was unknown. However, the Austrian football federation said on Tuesday that Riedl died after a long battle with an unnamed illness.

The senior coach had been at the helm of three Southeast Asian teams, including Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia, alongside stints with several other international teams including Austria.

His passing is a heavy blow to Vietnamese football supporters who thank his contributions to the country’s national football during his time as the head coach in three different periods — 1998-2000, 2003-2004, and 2005-2007.

During his reign, the highly respected coach led the team to many achievements, including runners-up at the 1998 Tiger Cup — the former name of the AFF Suzuki Cup — the bronze medal at the Dunhill Cup 1999, silver medals at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 1999, 2003 and 2005, and the silver medal at the LG Cup 2000.

Under Riedl's coaching, Vietnam won the gold medal at the LG Cup 2003 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2007 Asian Cup — a historic first.

football, soccer, manager, head coach, Alfred Riedl

Austrian Alfred Riedl (right) sits during his time as the head coach of Vietnam's national men's football team in this undated file photo. Photo: Si Huyen / Tuoi Tre

The Austrian coach once shared that he considered Vietnam to be his second home and even had a kidney donated by a Vietnamese man.

“Vietnamese football builds its house from the roof” was regarded as one of Riedl’s most notable remarks while working in Vietnam, an epitome of his straightforward character that helped make Vietnamese football managers change their mindset for the better.

A moment of silence was observed prior to the match between Austria and England in the European U21 Championship qualifying round on Wednesday to commemorate the passing of the late coach, the Austrian Football Association (OFB) said.

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