|Ready for action: Vietnamese players train at Nanyang Polytechnic University stadium on Monday. Viet Nam will play Brunei in the opening match of the SEA Games' Group B tomorrow. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Coach Toshyia Miura of Viet Nam said that his team were ready for the Southeast Asian Games.
The team arrived in Singapore on Monday to start training.
Talking with reporters after the second training session a day later, Miura said he did not care how strong the U23 team were at the previous Games as he was not their coach then.
This year, his players had trained very hard, Miura noted, adding that with their performances in the recent Asian Games and the Asian Championship qualifiers would stand them in good stead.
Miura, who has no idea about his rivals at the SEA Games, said Viet Nam would need nine to 12 points to get through to the semi-finals.
The only thing worrying the Japanese is Nguyen Van Toan's injury.
The striker will not be fit to play the opening match tomorrow.
He suffered a twisted ankle last week during a friendly match against Myanmar.
Coach Toshyia Miura will wait until tomorrow to announce his final squad, for which he will have to kick out two players.
In case of Toan's absence, Mac Hong Quan will be the top choice for the front line.
Quan rose to become Viet Nam's highlight after playing in both the U23s and national teams in recent competitions.
The forward is one of the seven players of the national team that will fly from Thailand to Singapore to join the U23 squad.
He has found his spirit after a talk with the head coach, following Viet Nam's 0-1 loss to Thailand in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
"We are in the best form and really confident of a victory. Our target is to win a trophy this year," said Quan.
On the other side, coach Stephen Ng Heng Seng of Brunei called up striker Faiq Jefri Bolkiah who plies his trade with Chelsea Academy and is ready to back up the ‘Tabuan Muda' on the attacking front.
Bolkiah is expected to threaten every defence of the Group B team with speed and accurate shots. He scored 18 goals for U18 Chelsea this season.
He was voted one of the best 20 talents of Southeast Asia, following his outstanding performance at the AFF Under-19 Championships last year.
Before joining Chelsea's youth squad, Bolkiah trained at Southampton and Reading. He also went for a trial at Arsenal.
"I'm going to try and use my physical presence and my strengths - speed and dribbling the ball (to help the team)," Faiq was quoted as saying by The Brunei Times online.
"I will work hard for the team both defensively and offensively," he added.
When asked about his target at the SEA Games, Faiq replied: "Hopefully, we can improve. I see we got some stronger players from DPMM FC. That will help us win a few games. That is our realistic target," added the 17-year-old.
Apart from Bolkiah, the Brunei squad have three more professional players: midfielders Azwan Ali Rahman, Aminuddin Zakwan Md Tahir, and Ak Yura Indera Putera Pg Yunus.
Although the remainder of the Brunei team are university students, Stephen Ng is glad to have the quartet on board and expects a good result for his squad.
"We are hoping that the experience that the four players will bring to the team will give them that extra push to go forward," Stephen Ng remarked.
"At this stage we are very focused and serious in terms of preparations for the final lapse," added the Singaporean.
He said the whole coaching board as well as players did not know much about Viet Nam or any Vietnamese stars. So he just watched some videos and found that the rivals were pretty strong.
He pointed out that Brunei also had some weaknesses, which would be improved.
In football, the winner is not always the stronger team, so let's see, Stephen Ng said, adding that they were ready to face Viet Nam.
The team recently returned from a 10-day training stint in Japan, where they contested in three friendly matches, winning one and losing two.
The opening match at Bishan Stadium will be aired live from 3pm on VTV6. — VNS