Vietnam coach's job safe during kidney transplant

Vietnam's national coach Alfred Riedl has been told his job is safe despite his team failing to reach the ASEAN Football Championship final. Tran Quoc Tuan, General Secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation said Vietnam's bronze medal finish in Bangkok last month was a creditable achievement since the team was missing 10 players through injury or suspension. "The team's bronze medal is not an insignificant achievement, especially when the national team has not had its best players," Tuan was quoted by the Viet Nam News.

Riedl, 57, is in Austria undergoing a long-awaited kidney transplant and will take around two months to recover. "I've needed this operation for a while now and I'm very happy to have found the donors," he said earlier. "I hope to be back in April to prepare the team for the AFC Asian Cup." The former Austria Vienna, FC Metz and Standard Liege striker has been hugely popular in Vietnam after he took the team to silver medals in the 1999, 2003 and 2005 South East Asian Games. His contract is due to expire in March 2008.