Chief coach of the national U23 men’s football squad Hoang Van Phuc has stepped down on December 23 following Vietnam’s loss at the recent 27th SEA Games in Myanmar, taking responsibility for the weak performance of the team.

Vietnamese footballers left Myanmar after their 1-2 bitter defeat to the 26th SEA Games defending champion, Malaysia, in the last group qualifier match, thus ending their quest for the regional trophy.

This is the first time in 10 years U23 Vietnam has been dropped out in the qualification round at a SEA Games. After the match, coach Hoang Van Phuc, on behalf of the team, made an apology to Vietnamese football fans for the loss.

In a written statement to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), he said that he was primarily responsible for the U23 team's defeats at the SEA Games this year. He proposed that he will leave his current position as chief coach of U23 Vietnam as well as the national squad.

"I do not avoid my accountability. I want VFF to make a decision very soon to work out plans for 2014. However, VFF has yet to accept my resignation," said Phuc, as quoted by Radio the Voice of Vietnam.

VFF has not yet made a decision and both VFF General Secretary Ngo Le Bang and Acting President Le Hung Dung advised the coach to keep "patient".

Coach Hoang Van Phuc signed a two-year contract with VFF in May 2013 to lead U23 Vietnam and the national squad. He was suspended from his position after Vietnam’s 3-3 draw against Brazil’s Bangu Altetico at the recent BTV Cup in Vietnam.

"My passion is still there, but I don't feel bad for leaving. I know the Vietnamese team still has a match against Hong Kong in March but I want to withdraw now so that the VFF can make long-term plans," Phuc was quoted by Dan Tri newspaper as saying.

Next year, Vietnam will face up against Hong Kong in a qualification round for the Asian Cup 2015 at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi. However, many people have thought Vietnam will be eliminated based on their five consecutive losses.-VNA