Vietnam is trying to find another national women's football coach as Chen Yun Fat has not yet returned from his trip home to China that was supposed to end March 1.
A fortnight after helping the Vietnamese women footballers win the gold at the 25th South East Asian (SEA) Games in Vientiane, the Chinese tactician asked to go home on leave on January 30.
Fat's one-year contract with VFF ended on February 15 but the General Department of Physical Training and Sports has allowed VFF to extend the contract with the Chinese coach when he returns.
However, Fat has not returned as he promised. The 2010 national women's football championships started on March 8 and VFF had wanted to work with Fat to find some new names to replace senior players on the team.
The national women's team is scheduled to begin its next round of training on April 5.
Truong Hai Tung, manager of the national teams department, said VFF had been trying to contact Fat. "But now we still can't be sure he will return."
He said VFF had previously discussed Fat's contract with the coach and also plans for the women's team to prepare in 2010 and 2011 for the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia.
"Perhaps, the recent match-fixing scandal involving several officials at China's football governing body has affected provincial football federations like the Dalian Football Federation, of which Fat is a member.
Fat is chief of the training department at the Dalian Football Federation.
The Dalian Football Federation sent Fat to Vietnam to help improve football here. He has been working in the country since 2007, which might have adversely affected his work back in China, Tung said.
Since Fat is a Chinese official, VFF could only sign a one-year contract with him, according to Tung.
He said finding a new coach for the women's national team "is a hard problem. But we have some plans and will announce them as soon as possible."
Fat took charge of Vietnam's national women football team in 2007 and helped the Vietnamese women finish second at the 24th SEA Games in Thailand the same year, despite the perceived weakness of the Vietnamese squad at the time.
At the Asian Cup in 2008, Vietnamese women played impressively at home. They lost 0-1 to defending champs China, lost 0-3 to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the team that won the championship later) and beat Thailand 1-0.
At the ASEAN Football Federation later that year, hosts Vietnam beat Thailand and Myanmar; and only lost to the guests Australia in the finals.