Update: 16:08 | 17/11/2022
Pau FC will release Vietnam's top midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai to play for his country in the upcoming AFF Cup, the French club announced Wednesday.
They were acceding to the request of the Vietnamese national team's head coach in releasing him, the club said.
The club's head coach, Didier Tholot, said the release did not mean that Quang Hai is not important to Pau. He said he still believes in Hai's abilities and hoped that the 25-year-old midfielder will contribute more to the club.
Nguyen Quang Hai (L) plays for Pau FC in a game.
"We want Quang Hai to play all matches of the national team so that he can be in good form, come back stronger and contribute more to Pau in the second half of the season. I know how important the AFF Cup is to Hai and how important he is to the national team. I wish Hai all the best with the national team," Tholot said.
Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo had proposed that the Vietnam Football Federation works with Pau to obtain Hai's release, but the club refused initially because the AFF Cup was not being held during the international break.
Hai signed a two-year contract with Pau last summer, but has struggled to find a regular place in the lineup. After the first half of the season, Hai had only scored one goal and was benched regularly.
Hai is an important player for the Vietnamese national team, however.
The 2022 AFF Cup will be held from December 23 to January 15, 2022. The 10 teams will play a round robin system with each team playing two home and two away fixtures, instead of in a centralized venue.
This will be the final tournament of coach Park with Vietnam’s national team.