VietNamNet Bridge – The national under-23 football team has been called on to win a gold medal at the 27th Southeast Asian Games to be held later this year in Myanmar.
“The target (set by the National Sport Administration) is not a source of pressure but a strong motive force for the team during the tournament,” said Ngo Le Bang, general secretary of the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF).
“The VFF will create the most convenient conditions for the under-23 squad, who will be Vietnamese representative at all invited tournaments and friendly matches (instead of the national team),” Bang said.
The team, which will include top players including overseas Vietnamese Mac Hong Quan, is expected to benefit from support of US$400,000 for their training and competition to make sure they reach their target.
National coach Hoang Van Phuc has been suggested as the best man to take charge of the under-23 team, although the VFF has not decided on this appointment yet.
“The VFF appreciates Phuc’s ability but we will wait until after the 2015 Asian Cup’s second qualifying round (on March 22) when Phuc leads the national team, to make the decision. If there is a good result we will work with him and this also depends on his aspirations,” Bang said.
Viet Nam has never won a SEA Games title. The best result was an ASEAN Football Federation Cup trophy in 2008.
Asian Cup qualifier
Coach Phuc on March 4 called on 26 players to prepare for the Asian Cup qualifier against Hong Kong later this month.
There are three goalkeepers, nine defenders, 10 midfielders and three strikers. All of them were familiar faces.
“They have been playing well with each other from the first training sessions so there are no new names this time,” said Phuc.
“The side will start working on March 11. The two overseas Vietnamese players Quan and Michal Nguyen will arrive here several days earlier.
“Viet Nam played pretty well against the United Arabia Emirates before losing 1-2. I hope that my team will continue what they have done and overcome their weaknesses to get a better result in Hong Kong,” he said.