HA NOI (VNS)— Vietnamese U23 team captain Nguyen Van Quyet said team effort is key to Viet Nam's success at the 27th Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
For the first time since 1995, Vietnamese football has come to the SEA Games with little confidence from football fans and pundits over their chances of entering the top three.
It is believed that the team do not have any players with the ability to turn the tide of the game in their favour, but for Quyet, it is the team's effort that matters.
"In football, the collective effort is the most important aspect, and I believe in this squad, treasure this squad and have strong faith that the squad will find success in Myanmar," Quyet asserted.
The U23 team captain had spoken to Viet Nam News after a training session at the youth football centre in Ha Noi just one day ahead of the team's departure for Nay Pyi Taw, where the Group A matches are scheduled to take place.
The U23 team have made thorough preparations for the Games, playing more than 10 practice matches against various opponents; the results have been more positive than negative.
"We have worked hard during the past few months. At the moment, all the team members feel relaxed and are looking forward to the game," noted a 22-year-old player who can play both in the midfield and up front.
|Leading by example: Nguyen Van Quyet (right) vies for the ball during a friendly between the U23 team and HCM City FC last week. The team captain said a team effort was vital to success at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar this month. — VNS Photo Quang Thang
Viet Nam will play Brunei on Sunday and then Singapore two days later. Then, they will have a five-day rehabilitation before taking on Laos on December 15. They will face their toughest opponent, Malaysia, in the last group game on December 17.
The play schedule is not a concern for Quyet, who does not play down the potential of any team to snag a victory, stating that all opponents in Group A are tough and that Viet Nam must focus on one match at a time since they are not allowed to make any mistakes.
"Not only are Malaysia and Singapore able to stand in Viet Nam's way, but both Brunei and Laos have the ability to defeat us," remarked the successive two-time winner of the Best Young Player of the Year title.
Quyet, who is playing for defending champion Ha Noi T&T, also reassured fans that Viet Nam is not alone in assembling a team of unknown, young players, with other teams facing similar problems.
"Viet Nam is in a state of transition, so the coach must take in younger players, and other teams are facing the same situation as well," he said.
Viet Nam have made it to the top four since 2003, having reached the finals three times but never having lifted a trophy.
Most fans and critics, however, noted that they do not see any signs of an end to the trophy drought this year.
"Heading to Myanmar with few expectations could give us greater focus during the games, so we can play to our best ability. Who knows, the ball is round, and with some luck, we will make a statement this time," the Ha Noi-born footballer said.
Head coach Hoang Van Phuc on Monday announced the U23 team's shortlist for the Games, dropping Ngo Hoang Thinh, who cannot recover from his injuries in time, as well as Nguyen Xuan Hung and Ngan Van Dai, who failed to impress Phuc.
The team will fly to Myanmar today. — VNS