28/12/2019 10:29 GMT+7 print

Vietnam gear up for AFC U23 Championships

 Vietnam’s U23 team are gearing up for the upcoming 2020 AFC U23 Championships finals to be held from January 8 to 26 next year in Thailand.

The team had their first training session in HCM City on December 25 following a 10-days training camp in Tongyeong, the Republic of Korea.

“After the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Vietnamese players are rather tired so we went to the Republic of Korea to train for recovery. The team returned HCM City to continue to train. We will try to solve weak points to prepare for the finals. During the training here, we will choose the best players before heading to Thailand,” said head coach Park Hang-seo.

According to the Korean coach, the trip to his homeland helped injured players including Nguyen Quang Hai, Tran Dinh Trong, Huynh Tan Sinh, Nguyen Thanh Chung and Nguyen Tien Linh recover. While defender Do Thanh Thinh still needs special care, he is expected to recover in 10 days.

The team will have a closed-doors friendly match against V.League 1 side Becamex Binh Duong on December 28 to prepare.

Park said Vietnam are ready to overcome all difficulties to perform well in the AFC event.

They will have to do so without SC Heerenveen defender Doan Van Hau.

According to Park, his and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF)'s request to select the player was declined as SC Heerenveen want Hau to participate in the second half of the Eredivisie season, the highest level of professional football of the Netherlands.

The AFC U23 Championship is not included in the FIFA Calendar, giving SC Heerenveen the right not to release Hau.

“Vietnam’s defence would be solid with the presence of Hau. But we're without him and we have other faces to replace him,” said Park.

At the AFC tournament of 16 teams, Vietnam are in Group D together with the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The continental championship also serves as a qualification event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the four best teams qualifying as the AFC representatives. If Japan is one of the top four sides, then the fifth-placed team will qualify.

Coach Park said he knew information about Jordan and UAE, but he didn’t know much about the DPRK. However, he will study thoroughly his rivals to know their ways of playing.

“We set a target of defeating all three rivals to top Group D,” said Park.

On January 1, 2020, the squad will set off to Thailand. Park’s side will have one last rehearsal with a final friendly with Bahrain U23s on January 3 next year.

On January 10, Vietnam will kick off their campaign with the Group D opener against the UAE, before facing Jordan on January 13. They will wrap up the group stage against the DPRK on January 16.

Vietnam were 2018 runners-up after losing 1-2 to Uzbekistan in extra time.
VNA/VNP