Coach Li Huan Ning (R) during a training session of the men’s national volleyball team. Photo by Saigon Giai Phong newspaper.
Due to visa extension issues, Li Huan Ning will most likely have to leave his job as coach of the national volleyball team.
Li took over the team in December 2020. He was expected to help the men’s volleyball team win the SEA Games 30 gold medal at home. However, Li has not been able to extend his stay because of visa problems. Vietnam Volleyball Federation is trying to help, but the chances for him to stay is nearly zero.
He coached the Shanghai youth volleyball team from 1993 to 2005 and the Chinese youth team from 2006 to 2011. Li won the Chinese youth volleyball championship five times, finished second at Asian Volleyball Youth Championships and third at Asian Men’s Volleyball Championships.
The Vietnam men’s volleyball squad are one of the strongest in Southeast Asia. However, the team have never won the SEA Games gold medal before, finishing second in 2003, 2007 and 2015. At SEA Games 30 in 2019, the team had a disappointing performance as they lost all three group stage matches, including one against Cambodia, which never happened before. The Department of Physical Education and Sports had hoped Li Huan Ning would help the team bounce back.
During a training session in January, Li said: “The team have three weaknesses: passing, blocking and making small mistakes during the game. I will try to build a team that focus on teamwork, the same way coach Park Hang-seo has done for the Vietnam football team.”
It is expected deputy coach Tran Dinh Tien would temporarily manage the team in the third training period of the year in early May.